Thinking of taking the holidays off from your networking and job search efforts? Think again. While some people say that companies just aren’t hiring at this time of year, plenty of them are. Some have urgent needs; others want to meet end-of-quarter hiring deadlines. Transitioning workers who keep working on their job searches at this time of year can find themselves with a distinct advantage over those who take the holidays off.

Don’t believe it? A recent survey by ExecuNet revealed that 69% of recruiters said there is the same number of, if not more, job postings in November and December than during the rest of the year. Additionally, 53% of the recruiters surveyed said they were scheduling interviews in November and December. Getting one of those interviews can come down to following a few simple strategies:

Keep doing what you’ve been doing

Sure you’ve been out pounding the pavement – literally and virtually. Now that the holidays are here, you need to keep at it. With fewer people out doing the same thing, you have a better chance of moving up the ranks and landing interviews.

Put a holiday spin on your networking

The holidays are a great time for networking. People are more relaxed, even charitable. Recruiters who are working through the holidays may find things slowing down at work, which means they will have more time to devote to looking for that new hire. They may also be easier to reach.

All the holiday parties and other social events can be used for networking too, of course. Get out to these events whenever you can.  Send out Christmas cards to everyone on your professional contact list.  E-cards are a great way to reach out to everyone and let them know you are looking for a new position.  Consider old colleagues and business contacts.  Now is an ideal time to call them and arrange a get-together over a holiday lunch or drink.  While you are catching up, you can ask about potential opportunities.

Use your contacts who are close to home

You have neighbors and friends, and if you are a parent, then you have contacts in fellow parents involved in various activities enjoyed by your children. Connect with these people. Host a holiday party or children’s party and network with the parents and people in your community. Do some holiday baking to help out a charity, visit local bazaars and fundraisers, and volunteer at a local soup kitchen. The more people you meet, the better chance you have of connecting with someone who can point you to an available position and even put in a good word for you.

Plan your time well

Of course, you want to have some down time over the holidays, but that shouldn’t last from Thanksgiving through the New Year. Make a holiday job search plan for each day and stick to it. Remember that if a company needs to hire someone, the date on the calendar is not going to change that. All that date does is keep people from looking. So, get out there while others are making merry. Even if you don’t land a job during the holidays, you will get the jump on everyone else when January comes along.

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