People who are unemployed often don’t even bother looking for work in December. They figure it’s pointless because some hiring managers are on vacation and offices are closed.
Big mistake, says Susan P. Joyce, publisher of Job-Hunt.org, who says the total number of jobs filled in December 2014 was greater than the number filled in January 2015. What’s more, Joyce notes, January is the toughest, most competitive and most crowded job market of the year — precisely because so many people stop job hunting during the holidays.
Why Holidays Are a Good Time to Job Hunt
In fact, she not only believes the holidays are a great time to get a job search started for 2016 or to make headway in your current search, she’s just published an excellent, free e-book with 101 tips to show you how. And below you’ll see 10 of my favorite tips from it.
The e-book, which Joyce co-edited with Job Hunt’s Personal Branding Expert, Meg Guiseppi, is called New Year, New Job! 101 Top Tips from the Job-Hunt Experts for Your Holiday Job Search. The 27 job-hunt experts include stars of the career advice world such as Hannah Morgan (aka Career Sherpa); career coach Phyllis Mufson; social media strategists Joshua Waldman (CareerEnlightenment.com) and Miriam Salpeter (KeppieCareers.com).
On to the tips…
1. Have a “NetPLAYing” mindset, not a “NetWORKing” mindset. Go to holiday gatherings planning to enjoy yourself. Reconnect. Catch up. Perhaps you will also meet interesting new people, and learn interesting new things. See if you can help someone else. When or if you’re asked, mention your interest in finding a new job, saying specifically what kind of work you want and name two or three target employers or target industries. — Susan P. Joyce, Job-Hunt’s Online Job Search Expert
2. Source informational interviews over the holidays. The last two weeks of December are traditionally slow for most businesses. You may find that some of the decision-makers you need to get in front of are in the office during those weeks and it may be a lot easier to get in front of them during this time of year. — Barbara Safani, Job-Hunt’s Finance Industry Job Search Expert
3. Develop a “magic-week” strategy. The week between Christmas and New Year’s holds magic.Many people are off, but many aren’t. It’s the week administrative assistants and other gatekeepers aren’t around; or if they are, they’re organizing for next year and enjoying a psychological break. It’s the week mid-level managers are often left in charge, with few meetings, calls or deadlines. That makes it a wonderful time to reach people you want to talk to directly who still have their holiday cheer intact. Use this magic week strategically to spark connections with key people. — Nan S. Russell, Job-Hunt’s Job Loss Recovery Expert
4. Drop a reminder to your LinkedIn Connections.Under the My Network tab at the top of your LinkedIn home page, you’ll see an option called “Connections.” After selecting it, you’ll see a list of contacts with recent birthdays or new jobs, as well as a list of Contacts and the last day you were in touch. Scroll down the list until you see users with whom you haven’t touched base in months, and send them a quick note of well wishes for the upcoming year. — Laura Smith-Proulx, Job-Hunt’s LinkedIn for Job Search Expert
Susan P. Joyce, of Job-Hunt.org, says the total number of jobs filled in December 2014 was greater than the number filled in January 2015.
5. Get a professional photo for your LinkedIn profile. Many of us go to professional photographers just before the holidays for a group family picture. While you’re there, why not have the photographer take several headshots of just you for your LinkedIn and other online profiles? An online profile with no photo is a missed opportunity to reinforce your personal brand and engage people, since people connect with content better when it’s accompanied by the author’s photo. — Meg Guiseppi, Job-Hunt’s Personal Branding Expert
6. Reconnect with old friends on Facebook. You know that most jobs come from networking. And I’ll bet you have a bunch of old acquaintances from high school or college you haven’t thought about in years. There may be a chance one of them is doing something at a company that could benefit you. Why not find some old pals on Facebook and start a dialogue? Ask honest questions about where they are in life. Tell them honestly where you are in your life. Don’t beg for help. Connect and provide value. Then, when trust is built, they might feel comfortable making a referral for you. — Joshua Waldman, Job-Hunt’s Social Media & Job Search Expert
7. Calendar your career-related holiday activities. To create the most effective results this holiday season, search for professional meetings and social events where you’ll have the opportunity to talk with people. Before you go to the event, think about your career-related goal for it. You might decide to reach out to people to see if anyone has contacts at a company you are targeting. Or you might ask if people know someone in your target industry. Be clear about the questions you want to focus on at each event. — Carol McClelland Job-Hunt’s Green Jobs Job Search Expert
8. Connect with new recruiters during the holidays. If you don’t have relationships with any recruiters, network to one through your contacts. This is a good time of year to ask your friends to introduce you to their favorite recruiter (who works in your industry). If they have a good relationship, they can mention they have a colleague who’d be someone good for them to know. — Jeff Lipschultz, Job-Hunt’s Working With Recruiters Expert
9. Turn your holiday card into a marketing tool. Include your business card in holiday cards you send to well-connected friends, with a line asking for their help in your job search. Don’t omit sending cards to anyone you’ve interviewed with; they may still have job openings and your holiday card with its business card enclosed may get you another chance at the job. — Dr. Jan Cannon, Job-Hunt’s Mid-Life Career Expert
10. Volunteer to create access to employers. The hiring managers you want to meet go to holiday charity events and other public holiday events. The best way for you to meet them without a large financial investment is to volunteer at one. If you believe volunteering at a holiday charity event is not worth your time, look at the list of corporate sponsors of the previous year’s event. You may reconsider your stance. — Stephen Hinton, Job-Hunt’s Green Industry Jobs Expert
This article first appeared on Next Avenue on December 3, 2015.