Most job seekers stop their search from Thanksgiving through New Year's. Why? Because people mistakenly assume that organizations are not hiring during the holiday season. Companies need good people all year long. Most organizations do not shut their doors and turn off the lights just because the holidays arrive. Many employers will hire people at the end of 2010 for head count or budget reasons, or interview and make offers to candidates so they can start in early 2011.
The holiday season is the perfect time of year to increase focus on your networking and land a new job. Job seekers who continue efforts during the holidays will have an advantage over those who put their search on hold for the holidays. When there are fewer people searching for jobs, there are fewer résumés for a hiring manager to review and your chances of being selected for an interview increase. Also, ask anyone who has stalled their job search how difficult it was to find the energy to pick up where they left off.
The holiday season offers job seekers abundant opportunities to get in front of decision makers. Think of the many holiday parties, events, family gatherings and volunteer opportunities that are available during the winter months. You never know where your next job opportunity might come from, so stay alert and keep your elevator pitch prepared. The person standing next to you while volunteering at the soup kitchen or the vendor at the local holiday mart could both help you network your way to your next opportunity.
Some ways to take advantage of the holiday season for your job search include;
* Attend as many holiday events as you can, without stressing yourself out. You want to make a good impression, so don't over schedule yourself. Be prepared with your business cards and elevator pitch. Practice before you go.
* Send holiday cards. Personalize the cards as this is a great time to follow up with people in your target list, hiring managers you met with in the past, old co-workers or those well connected in your network.
* Have a glass of holiday cheer and re-connect with those people who might be able to assist you in your job search.
* Connect online – Send e-mails to get in touch. The holiday season is a good excuse to touch base with people on sites like LinkedIn and Facebook.
* Stay on task. With so many events and activities to take care of during the holidays, create a "to do" list so you can keep your job search on track.
* Update your résumé and online profiles. This is a perfect time to reflect on all of your accomplishments in 2010.
'Tis the season to step up your job search! Remember, if you keep at your job search during the holiday season, you will beat the crowd of post-holiday applicants in January.