So it’s the last two weeks of December, and the decision makers may be out of the office. But that doesn’t mean your job search should come to a halt.
“It is worth continuing your job search during the holiday season,” says Joey Price, a human resources specialist and founder of Push Consultant Group, LLC, a career search services firm. “Companies never stop hiring so job seekers should never stop applying. While business may slow down during the holiday season, resumes are still screened for open positions and future positions that may develop in the upcoming year once fiscal year budgets are determined. Give yourself the advantage by searching when others may not be.”
- Brush up on your networking. “Holiday parties, volunteer activities, and time spent with family and friends are all examples of opportunities to let individuals know you are looking for a position,” Price says. “Develop your 30-second elevator pitch, create business cards highlighting your best assets and updated contact information, and take time to revamp your resume.” And don’t neglect networking with former employers and managers. “If you left on good terms, I would consider reaching out to former employers to see if positions are available,” Price adds. “If a former manager has moved on to another company, then he or she can be your connection to a potential opportunity.”
- Use down time for research. While you’re not buried in work at your current job, spend time researching opportunities—beyond the jobs posted online. “Start building a spreadsheet of all the companies you admire in the market, then visit LinkedIn to explore possible connections you may have within these organizations,” says Camille Fetter, managing partner of TalentFoot. “If you have not taken the time to connect with your contacts on LinkedIn, this is the perfect time to take on such a project. Finding connections will allow you to ask for some personal introductions and this all takes time. So, instead of sitting back and putting your job search on pause over the holidays, put down that eggnog and start your research. This will give you a strong jumpstart to sending your resume to the appropriate contacts in the New Year.”
- Adjust your expectations. Since it is the holiday season, don’t be surprised if there are fewer opportunities listed on job search sites and if it takes longer for potential employers to respond to your inquiries, Price says.
“Understand that a lot of decision making gets put on hold from December 20 through January 1,” Fetter adds. “[This is] because a majority of decision makers tend to take time off during the last two weeks of December. Ideally, if a job seeker can secure an interview to occur after the first of the year, they’ll be in a good position to be at the top of the employer’s consideration.” If you do happen to have a final round of interviews during the final weeks of December, Fetter recommends following up with a voice mail and email wishing the prospective employer happy holidays. In addition, “be sure to let the hiring manager know your availability during the holidays in case any additional questions need to be addressed,” Fetter says. “Remember, the most important message to deliver during this down time, is your continued level of interest in the opportunity.”