Home > Career Development, Job Search > ‘Tis the Season . . . To Keep Looking

‘Tis the Season . . . To Keep Looking

As the holiday season bears down on us all, the pressing questions for the job hunter are: Should I take a break? Is anything really going to happen in the job market before the New Year? Don’t I deserve to take a bit of a respite from this brutal search and relax by the fire with eggnog?

Well, yes and no. To be sure, taking some time during the holidays to enjoy the delights of the season and appreciate those around you is an excellent idea. This is certainly NOT the time to pull out the plastic and run up a tab with the retail industry, but having a sensible, enjoyable holiday time with family and friends is something you DO deserve.

That being said, please allow me to make a case for maintaining a certain level of job search activity between now and the din of the noisemakers on the first day of the New Year.

1. This is a great time to meet people.

The holidays represent an extraordinary number of opportunities to see and be seen by family, friends and folks from all over. It would be foolish not to consider all of this “face time” as a resource to increase your “Positive Visibility.” Please understand the importance of your attitude and approach, however. Nothing can put the damper on a festive gathering more quickly than someone who is pumping the crowd for job leads, or who has the “deer in the headlights” look of someone who needs work! Be sure to focus your contact with others in a positive manner, seeking information, advice and referral to investigate and consider alternatives. Remember that most individuals truly would like to help, but are at a loss on how to be of assistance. Allow them the luxury of simply giving advice rather than 1) feeling pressed to deliver that killer lead for you or 2) staring through you to someone, anyone at the other side of the room. My experience has been that, in such cases, most people will choose Door Number 2!

An additional word of warning: be sure that your solicitation of “next step” options and advice is not the first question on your list, nor is it the only item of conversation. Ease into these topics. Ask how they are doing, what is new in their lives. Show honest interest and concern for them as people, not as networking contacts. Also, help them realize that you are in the investigation mode, not desperate for a pay stub.

2. Many decision makers are at home, not on the road.

One of the challenges of the job search process is navigating through the maze of individuals who need to participate in the hiring decision. In mid-August, for example, it is often difficult to get the right people in the same room (or even in the same state) long enough to give their opinions, since Smitty is at Myrtle Beach and Ms. Jones just left for New England. This is not as true during the holidays!

Many people will be staying nearer to home, traveling less and becoming more accessible to give feedback on your candidacy. Although the hiring process may not be at the top of the holiday list, there are still decisions being made, perhaps even more quickly due to the availability of decision-makers. In addition, the end of the year is often the time when budgets are being reviewed and finalized, and hiring plans are starting to take shape. Remember: The best time to look for work is always the present!

3. Your competition may be reduced.

This is one of my personal favorites! Many of your fellow seekers may decide that this is simply not the time to pursue employment leads (for all of the reasons we recounted earlier) and mothball their interview outfits until the New Year. As a result, there is high potential that your competition for employment opportunities will dwindle. Why not take advantage of this “thinning of the field” of candidates to forge ahead? As they decide not to check up on an application until early next year, your well-placed voicemail, LinkedIn update, tweet or short e-mail may improve your standing in the candidate pool. After all, in the wild and woolly world of employment search, you need to work every opportunity to your advantage!

4. Pace yourself!

Now that I’ve made my unassailable arguments for burning up the snow-covered pavement with your employment search, I want to introduce the other side of the issue – it IS the Holidays! Be sure to take time to care for you and yours, to be thankful for what you do have, to count your blessings. And perhaps, even sip a flagon of eggnog at least once in front of a crackling fire!

Happy Holidays and best wishes to you and yours!

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