Holiday Job Hunting

I’m going to take a break from sharing advice that my friends have sent to me and write a few entries that pertain to the holiday season while still providing suggestions to help you find a job.

Last year, the Wall Street Journal published an article titled “Holiday Job Hunting.” At that time, I hadn’t started my blog yet, but I saved the article because I knew the advice would be relevant this year. It’s fairly common for people to take a break from hunting for a job over the holidays under the assumption that employers aren’t likely to hire right now. The WSJ article tells us, however, that many employers actually need to gear up for first quarter expansions.

I’m going to summarize the key points from the article, some of which sound a bit contradictory. However, keep in mind that there are a lot of different possible scenarios when it comes to holiday work schedules, so what is true for one organization isn’t necessarily true for others:

  • Contact hiring managers during the week between Christmas and New Years. They may not be as busy as usual, and they may not be receiving applications from all those folks who are taking a break, so your inquiry is likely to get more attention. Just keep in mind that a lot of  people will take time off from work during the holidays, so they may not get back to you  quickly if that’s their situation. But also be prepared to take advantage of the opportunity if an employer who is working through the holidays happens to feel an instant kinship with someone who continues their job search during this time.
  • Many nonprofit organizations will have special events during the holidays, so attending these events is a great way to network. However, what you need to do is BUILD your network: while at such events, collect names and contact information that can help you develop relationships to use after the holidays as you continue to look for a job. The example from the article describes volunteering at a soup kitchen and meeting other volunteers who can tell you about their own jobs/careers/organizations and share valuable data and ideas with you while you’re contributing to your community.
  • Search for local meetups that are relevant to your career interests. There’s a good chance that attendance at such events could swell as people get together to socialize during the holidays.
  • Practice your elevator speech (see Tip 22 for hints on how to create an elevator speech) and give some thought to how you will answer standard interview questions (as listed in Appendix J) so that you won’t get caught unprepared in case you do meet a hiring manager at a holiday event.
  • Make sure that all your social media profiles are up to date and appropriate, with professional information, photos, and contact information.

And now a couple of bits of advice directly from me:

  • Networking at events can be a big help, but never continue your networking efforts if you realize you’ve begun to feel the effects of the alcoholic beverages that are served at many of these functions. You’ll likely do yourself more harm than good if you over-indulge. In fact, you may want to limit yourself to club soda so that you stay alert. After all, you are attending the event to enhance your job search efforts, not to have a good time.
  • It’s easy to assume that you may as well take a break and spend the holidays with family and friends, but, as I say in Tip 49, you have to treat your job search as if it were your job. And most people don’t get the whole holiday season off from their jobs!