For many, the holidays around this time of the year is a time for Christmas shopping, preparing for travels to visit relatives and friends, decorating the house with bright lights and other seasonal decorations, or planning a big family dinner for the festival season.
However, for the unemployed or underemployed this is a great time of the year to continue your job search. As a matter of fact, you should be doubling up on your job search during the holiday season. Applying for 15 to 20 jobs a week should be your goal during this time of the year.
Unfortunately, there is this myth that little hiring occurs during the holidays. Many job seekers believe most hiring managers are on vacation during this time of the year. Therefore, many job seekers tend to mistakenly take time off searching for work, despite there still being plenty of opened jobs posted on websites, in newspaper ads, and on company job boards. Many of these discouraged job seekers erroneously believe it would be a waste of their time to continue their job search when many hiring managers are away from the office.
Because of this thinking, according to research, about 30% to 50% job seekers temporary stop searching for work during the month of December. Some even end their job search as early as the week before Thanksgiving. But, when job seekers take time off from job hunting during the holidays, they miss out on a great opportunity of increasing their chances of landing a job shortly after the holidays.
The benefits of searching for work during the holidays
- Reduced competition for jobs. With approximately 30% to 50% job seekers taking time off from their job search during the holidays, your competition for jobs you apply for is reduced. This increases your opportunity of getting interviews and ultimately hired. With fewer resumes and applications being completed for opened positions, companies will usually select from among those candidates that applied for positions, especially when they need jobs filled quickly.
- New hiring generally increases in January. By doubling up on your job search in December you increase your chances of landing a job in January or the first quarter of the year. Research shows that 10% to 12% of all new hiring occurs in January compared to an average of 8% for other months. Therefore, you are looking at about a 25% increase in hiring in January compared to the other months of the year. What this means that your chances of getting hired in January are greater. Therefore, those that are hired in January were generally candidates that were interviewed in December or November.
- Hiring managers strive to fill budgeted positions to avoid losing them at year-end. Several companies have their fiscal budget aligned with the regular calendar year. Therefore, their budget may end on December 31 and their new budget may start January 1. For many companies, if they fail to fill an open position by budget deadline (December 31), the position could be removed. So, hiring managers around this time of the year are highly motivated to fill their open budgeted positions in fear that they could lose them at the budget ending year. When companies are anxious to fill open positions, your opportunity of getting hired increases.
- The first quarter of 2014 should generally be a good time for new hiring. Generally 10% of employers plan to add new positions to their staff during the first quarter of the year. Provided there is no suddenly sharp downturn in the job market, traditionally the first quarter of the year reflects an increase in hiring. While much new hiring is a result of turnover at organizations, other hiring is due to the creation of new jobs. Also, growing companies receive new accounts that make it necessary to hire additional staffing in order to meet their new demands. Other companies have a need to fill positions to meet the next year projects, so they either hire before the end of the year or engage in interviewing candidates to be hired in January. Again, this is a plus for job seekers that put their job search in overdrive during this time of the season.
How to take advantage of the holidays to improve your job search
For many of those unemployed or underemployed, the holidays can be everything but joyful. As a matter of fact, it can be downright depressing. Chances are your finances are as small as a Charley Brown Christmas tree and you morale may be as low as the freezing temperature on a cold January winter night.
However, although you may not be in a holiday cheering mood, the holiday season offer some great networking opportunities you should be taking advantage of this time of the year. Here are a few moves you should consider around this holiday season:
- Attend Christmas parties to take advantage of networking opportunities. Whether it’s a former company or friend’s Christmas party, make an effort to get yourself invited to these festival events, regardless of how much you may dread having to respond to party guests’ inquiries: “What type of work you do?” Such question can be a great opening for you to talk about your work experience and how you are currently looking for a great company that can benefit from your skills. Have plenty of personal business cards you can pass out to key guests who may be able to pass it onto recruiters or hiring managers at their companies. Many companies have employee referral programs that pay a reward to employees who refer candidates who are hired for key positions and remain on the job for a specific period of time. Holiday party guests who companies have such programs would be motivated to refer you to their recruiter or hiring manager. Also, while at the holiday party you may even run into some recruiters or hiring managers, therefore, allowing you to network with them directly. Also, remember to bring your great personality with you at these festival events. Be positive, approachable and maintain a level of professionalism.
- Have a professional online presence for recruiters and hiring managers to view. To compete with other job seekers today it’s important to have an online presence to help attract employers and promote your skills and experience. The Internet and technology has revolutionize the way we job hunt and if you have not joined that “revolution” in your job search efforts, you could be left on the sidelines while others enjoy more frequent employment opportunities. Consider opening a LinkedIn account at https://www.linkedln.com/. LinkedIn has over 175 million members and is a favorite source for recruiters in finding candidates for opened position. LinkedIn membership is expected to continually grow rapidly in 2014. Other social media accounts to consider include Facebook, https://www.Facebook.com/, Twitter, http://www.Twitter.com/ and YouTube, http://www.YouTube.com/. Also, when you do present yourself online makes sure that you post a nice professional photo of yourself with your account profile. Believe me, recruiters and hire managers, whether they admit it or not, do like to view photos of potential candidates.
So, starting now make the holiday season a great time to energize your job search by putting more time and effort in your search while others mistakenly temporary take time off. In doing so, you put yourself at an advantage by increasing your opportunity for employment in January or early in the first quarter of the New Year. That my friend would be the ideal Christmas gift to give to yourself!