Many job seekers mistakenly believe that hiring halts during the holiday season, but according to career consultant and author Jean Baur, November and December are not dead zones in the job market.
She says the holidays actually present job seekers with a great opportunity to stand out from others who take a break from their job search during this time.
“If you’re out there working the job market when others aren’t, you’ve got an advantage,” Baur says.
“You have less competition. You’ll stand out. And in addition, it’s the people who are using winter holiday parties to network who will be working sooner than those who give up and stay home to bake cookies.
“Even if the job itself doesn’t start until after the holidays, those who have given up will most likely not be the ones working when the season passes,” she explains.
In her book, Baur offers the following do’s and don’ts for navigating the job market during the holidays.
• Tell yourself that you’ll keep an open mind about when jobs are found and will, at the very least, experiment during your job search so that you can discover what works and what doesn’t.
• Take advantage of the holiday season to send out e-cards to your network that briefly update them on your status in the job search.
• Use the holidays as an opportunity to connect with others. This could mean inviting your neighbours over for dessert and coffee, organizing an outing for your children and some of their friends or helping a friend with a project. These activities should be fun, but are also opportunities to keep your network expanding and current.
• Rely on evidence and not hearsay to determine your direction. Pay attention to what’s working and what’s not in your search, and adjust your strategy.
• Let myths about lack of hiring during the holiday season lull you into sitting around.
• Take others’ opinions literally. In an effort to be comforting, people close to you may say things like, “There are no jobs out there — especially now.” Remember, you only need one job, and hiring happens all the time. The more you can pitch your skills to meet a need or solve a problem, the better your chances will be.
• Stop. This is a process that takes preparation, persistence, patience and courage. Keep at it. It’s often very difficult to predict when and how you’ll get your next job.
• Expect instantaneous results. Most job seekers find that they have to lay the foundation before very much happens. So it might feel as if you’re working really hard without any results, but very often this changes quickly.