This year, major stores will open earlier than ever before for Black Friday. They’re not even waiting for the 12:01 a.m. to kick off the holiday shopping season. If you’re looking for a new job, take a hint here. Do not put your hunt on hold for the holidays. If anything, step it up. The holidays offer one of the best times of year to successfully make your career transition.
You may think that all the parties, the food, and the festivities call for a few weeks’ break from your job search, but the holidays are, in fact, one of the best seasons to widen your network and become better positioned to hear about and then act on any job opening. The other great thing about job searching during the holidays is the fact that your competition is much lighter; most people buy into the misconception that the holidays are a bad time to search so take advantage of this less saturated job market.
If your previous employer has provided you with career management solutions, continue to use the resources throughout November and December as opposed to letting the opportunity pass you by.
‘Tis the season for networking
There’s no other time like the holidays for mixers, parties, and get-togethers of all kinds among many groups. Be open to participating in as many seasonal networking opportunities as you can. These festivities provide face time with all types of connections, from family and friends to a wide variety of professional contacts. Also consider getting involved in community service and volunteer opportunities, you never know who else might be volunteering at the same non-profit.
While you attend parties and volunteer your time, be sure to present a cheery disposition and have your professional value proposition ready. Focus on meeting and learning about others. Ask questions to get to know people and their professional background – naturally at some point the conversation will turn to you. It is really important that you not go about networking with a “what’s in it for me” attitude. Rather, you should go about it from a philanthropic view point; ask yourself how you can help others, share information, and be a valued resource. This is a much more authentic and successful networking strategy.
Other reasons for the job search season
During the holidays, many companies finalize the coming year’s budget and gear up for next 12 months. Even though positions may not be open until January, recruiters and hiring managers often use the season to pre-identify and screen candidates. Keeping your eye out for your next opportunity and networking during this time of year gets you in front of these people when they are most likely to be in the giving spirit and more responsive to your outreach. And, should they need you to fill open positions before the end of the year or lose their department funding, you are more likely to be considered.
Typically in January people begin their job search once again, greatly boosting your competition. Because of this make sure you take full advantage of the less saturated job market during the end of the year.