Should I search for a job during or after the holidays? A question I hear frequently during this time of the year from many people. Look at the success that Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos are having in the last minutes of the football game these days. With success like that, it should be a good time to follow their footsteps. We are in the closing days of the year so go for it.
I know it can be tempting to put your job hunting on hold during holiday seasons. However, if you really want a new job, it is a good time to look. Although it is certainly true to say that most companies will wind down over the holiday season and very unlikely to be looking for new employees, there is still a chance they will be hiring. And even if your application isn't considered until the New Year, yours should be first on the desk of the potential interviewer. There is another advantage in that the majority of other job seekers will have given up the search over the holiday, so although there may not be many positions open, you will be in a good chance of at least getting that interview.
Contrary to popular opinion, this is a great time of year to find a job. Employers don't stop hiring just because it's the holidays. At my company, this is an extremely busy time of the year since many of our clients' needs that drive hiring throughout the year don't change just because the paid holidays are bunched up on the last pages of the calendar. Even we will be interviewing candidates for positions at our company during the holiday season. The period between Thanksgiving and New Year's is one of the best times to find a job. Because budget approvals expire at the end of the year, there is a sense of urgency among hiring managers and recruiters. Yet while HR is usually in full recruiting mode, most people put their job searches on hold during the holidays. The result is it's more of a candidate's market.
Here are a few simple strategies you can use to accomplish your goal. Identify your long-term goals and short-term requirements. What are the must-haves about any job offer you will accept? Where do you want this job to lead you? What type of company do you want to work for? How would you like to put your skills to work?
Maintain a positive attitude and demeanor online and offline. Confidence is attractive; being in a slump isn't. Get excited about the opportunity you're going to land. That excitement will rub off on the people around you so refine your communication skills online and offline. It'll make the job search process fun and using proper, professional etiquette makes you stand out amongst the masses. So develop an online presence if appropriate for your level of search, create a LinkedIn and association profile if you don't have one already and make sure that all of your information is up to date, appropriate and professional. Any time you learn the name of a hiring manager, look to see if anyone in your LinkedIn network knows that person, and if so, ask for an introduction.
Social networking sites experience a noticeable uptick in activity during the holidays, so maintain your presence there as well. Don't overdo it, but the occasional status update or tweet mentioning your job search can never hurt.
Attend networking events and holiday parties, but try to figure out which will be well attended by people who can connect with decision makers or connectors. Connectors are the people who know the decision makers, and who have an incentive for connecting you with them. These may be centers of influence, recruiters or they may be other employees in the same company. You won't know who they are at first, but they'll identify themselves to you if you network effectively. Find proper and appropriate ways to develop relationships. A little schmoozing never hurts.
Remember that more employers use online job posts than printed classifieds nowadays, so check the job boards often, as in more than once a day. In addition, check company websites, as there may be additional opportunities advertised there. Keep in mind that some companies hire during the holidays with the idea of being able to hit the ground running when the New Year rolls in.
You must believe. How would you like to wake up on the morning of Jan. 2, 2012, with a solid job offer in hand, while the rest of the job seekers are just getting started on their search? So start immediately, you can get your foot squarely in the door while everyone else is out shopping, drinking egg nog and watching Tim Tebow win football games.