By Elizabeth Gibson
A challenging job market, everyone on vacation, deadline-driven managers: what do each of these have in common? They’re all excuses that job seekers give to skip job hunting over the holidays. Why bother, you ask?
Network during the holidays — professional organization parties, corporate events, neighborhood get-togethers — and find more opportunities to connect with key contacts.
Reason #1: Less Competition
If everyone else believes you can’t get a job during the holidays, let everyone else stay home drinking eggnog. Much like the early bird getting the worm, the job seeker who stays focused during the holidays maintains momentum, demonstrates commitment to employers, and is far more likely to encounter and take advantage of existing opportunities. Job seekers who are prepared with their story, their motivation, and a plan can make a big impact on their target contacts at a time when the competition is focused on finding Zhiu Zhui pets at Toys ‘R Us.
Reason #2: More Opportunity
Organizations often map their first quarter hiring needs during the last quarter of the calendar year, so opportunities may be evaluated, discussed, and/or posted in December and January. Job seekers who continue to research key organizations and stay on task during the holidays are more likely to land on a hiring manager’s radar early in that process.
Reason #3: Better Connections
Let’s face it, there are more opportunities to network during the holidays — professional organization parties, corporate events, neighborhood get-togethers — and people are typically a little more relaxed. Job seekers who are strategic about networking may find more opportunities to connect with key contacts, or find that people are more inclined to help. (A word of warning – while people are a bit more relaxed at this time, dancing around in a Santa hat and demonstrating how the alcohol in your breath can replicate a blowtorch probably won’t land you that dream job.)
Also, while administrative staff may take vacation during holidays, executives or managers in key areas will often work at least part of the time in order to meet deadlines and finish strategic projects. Well prepared job seekers may be able to bypass a gatekeeper by calling key executives between Christmas and New Year’s.
Elizabeth Gibson is a community leader with expertise in career development, HR, organizational development, and change management, and has presented to industry associations and Fortune 500s. She was VP of Business Development at Lee Hecht Harrison, where she consulted on career transition, leadership development, and workforce solutions. She is a Past President of the San Diego Society for Human Resource Management.