Many people believe that the holiday season is a terrible time to look for a job. “No one hires during Christmas.” “Everyone’s on vacation.” “They’ve probably closed all the requisitions for the year.” Though these things may be true in some cases, but for some businesses, it is a slow time and a long-held opening might be in danger of being lost if they don’t find a candidate. If you see a job that looks good or get a referral from an employee at the company (even better), go for it!
A colleague of mine just made an offer for a job starting on 12/30. I once landed a position that began the week after Thanksgiving. Companies focused on the ‘shopping season’ are probably too busy – banks, retail manufacturers, retail stores – but there are other options.
Even if the jobs you are most interested in aren’t hiring now, the holiday season isn’t the time to stop career planning. If you aren’t employed, it can be a depressing time and positive steps towards your future can be uplifting. If you are employed, in many cases, work may have slowed a bit, so you have time to invest in yourself. Career management is more than just landing the next job.
Inspired to take a leap into a new area but you don’t quite have the skillset? This is a perfect time to take a course. Online courses are available on nearly every subject and YouTube and other video sites also have classes. http://www.skillshare.com/ is a great place to look. Add some new credentials to your resume and be more likely to land the job you desire.
Sharing your knowledge helps to elevate your visibility and can lead to unsolicited offers.
Note: not just update your resume, though you should do this regularly. Instead, take a fresh look at it. How dated is it? Two critical areas to look at are: search terms and results. In the first case, you need to be sure that when applying for a position, the words used in your resume (or LinkedIn profile) map to the ones in the requisition. You want to include words that are important for your industry and your desired position. Headhunters and HR departments hunt on these. And increasingly, resumes need to include specific successes. If you can tie them to revenue, even better. Phrases such as ‘X innovation saved the company $1MM this year’ and ‘efficiencies resulted in a 10% reduction in overhead’ will resonate with employers.
Add more people to your network so you have a wider range of options when you want to look for a job. In addition, review and update your profile. Update your status to keep your name out there. Various people provide great classes in how to make your LinkedIn profile shine; consider watching a video or two.
http://www.meetup.com/ is a great way to connect with people who share interests. In-person networking can often lead to learning about the many hidden job postings. There is a group for almost everything and once you join one, MeetUp will regularly send email notices of new groups that might be a good match for you. Many groups have formed simply to get people out of their houses to dine together every week. It’s a great way to refill your energy bank so after lunch, you are ready to get back to work, or back to looking for work.
When the job you have doesn’t really line up with what you love to do, volunteering can be a great way to find ways to do the things you love to do. During the holidays, there are even more opportunities and most will accept whatever time you have to give. For home-based workers, it can be a great way to get out among people. For job-seekers, not only do you get out there, but you may meet valuable contacts, as well as develop new skills which could lead to the next job.
It’s easy to get in a rut and stay in a field that no longer interests you. Golden handcuffs such as vacation weeks, benefits or a short commute can keep you stuck. Once a year, it is a great exercise to consider what else you might be doing. What do you love to do? What are you great at? Many people change not only jobs, but careers throughout their lives. Needs and interests change. Are you doing what you should be doing? Take time to consider alternatives.
As the New Year approaches and you start to consider New Year’s resolutions and goals, make a resolution to invest in yourself. Financial advisors ask you to invest at least 10% of your income to ensure a great retirement. Why not consider investing 10% of your work time to career management? Engaged, passionate people are far less likely to make the layoff list and far more likely to inspire a hiring manager to make a compelling offer. Give yourself the gift this season of reconnecting with what you love and taking the next step in your career.
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