Holiday Season Job Searching Tips

Exchanging Christmas Gifts
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Are you about to start a job search or are you in the midst of looking for a new job? If you are considering waiting to start your job or putting it on hold because of the holidays, think again.

Contrary to popular opinion, the holidays are a good time of year to find a job. Employers don't stop hiring just because it's the holiday season. Vacation time might mean that your interviews will be spread out over more time, but companies will still review applications and schedule those interviews. In addition, the holiday season is a perfect time of year to network your way to a new job.

Hiring Is a Year-Round Process

Executive Dave Harshbarger explains why hiring continues, regardless of the time of year.

"For many of us, the holiday season is a time to sit back and relax, to take a break from business, to focus our attention on friends and family. For businesses, the 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."

He explains that at many companies' hiring and personnel activities continue at all times of the year, because the needs that drive hiring⁠—competitive pressures, growing markets, and strategic initiatives—don't take a break.

In addition, companies may have an annual budget and headcount that's timed to the calendar year. In this case, managers may be eager to conclude hiring by the start of the next year, which may be at the end of the previous year's budget. 

Hiring Continues During the Holiday Season

If you do land interviews during the holiday season, it's possible that they will occur over video chat or by phone to accommodate vacationers' schedules. Harshbarger adds,

"Hiring during the holidays is sometimes complicated because key decision makers are absent. In the case of hiring, arguably the most important decision companies make, it is common for key individuals to interrupt their vacations (where feasible) to meet with shortlisted candidates. In all cases, we understand that to meet our goals in the New Year, it is critical that we stay focused on our staffing plans even as we turn our gaze homeward."

Tips for a Successful Holiday Job Search

You may be inclined to slow your job search during the holidays, thinking that there are limited opportunities due to holiday activities and time off. However, employers who look to meet their year-end budgets are still actively hiring. In addition, your chances of getting hired can increase, as there is less competition from other job seekers.

The following tips can help you land a job during the holiday season:

  • Use downtime to your advantage. If you're working at a company where the holiday season is a slow one, take advantage of this time to job search. If you have vacation days that need to be used, schedule some networking meetings. It's an ideal time of year to connect with acquaintances you haven't been in touch with in a while, both to celebrate the holiday season and to let them know you're in the market for a job. If you have extra time, you can use it to update your resume, refresh your LinkedIn profile, or create a portfolio. 
  • Use personal and professional events for networking. If you are attending a holiday social event, it is definitely appropriate to mention that you are job searching. Accept all the invitations you receive, both personal and professional. You never know who may be able to help. Friends and family, as well as business acquaintances, are typically more than happy to assist.
  • Send holiday cards. Sending a holiday or New Year greeting card to networking contacts, recruiters, and employers with whom you have interviewed is another way to connect with those who can help with your job search.
  • Connect online. Send an email or use a professional or social networking site, such as LinkedIn or Facebook, to get in touch. The holiday season is a great excuse to touch base and a good time to reinforce or expand your network.

Holiday-themed volunteer events are another opportunity to expand your network by meeting more people and share that you're job searching.  

During this time of year, it's also wise to take some time for yourself and your family. Relax a little and don't forget to enjoy the holiday season. You'll enjoy both your job search and the holidays more, and that's important for everyone, whether job seeking or not.