When I work with job seekers, I often hear "things slow down at the end of the year." They believe that from Halloween through New Year's Day, professionals relax, take vacations and are generally in a holiday state of mind, not focused on work. For this reason, many job seekers avoid looking for work at the end of the calendar year.
If you are of the belief that your transition and job search should stop in mid-October, you are missing some golden opportunities.
Here are some of the ideal opportunities present this time of year:
Many Companies Hire All the Way Through the Holiday Season.
Consider this: If a job seeker is currently employed, they might have time off around the holidays, giving them flexibility to interview for other opportunities during this time. Hiring managers use this to their advantage, knowing they can access employees who temporarily have more flexible schedules.
Holiday Social Events Mean More Networking Opportunities.
People generally are in a jovial and celebratory mood, making them feel generous and social. If you match their mood, this could be a great time to inquire about an open position they may know of within their company. It's best to start by taking a genuine interest in how they're doing, and leading into it by asking how things are going at their current company. Because they are in a good mood, they may be more apt to help you.
Things Do Slow Down; Use It to Your Advantage.
Because of holiday travel and time off, some companies slow their workload during the holidays. This means you might actually reach that hiring manager by phone when you call, since they could be in the office catching up on work and may be more available to take your call.
Networking Possibilities Are Enhanced.
Even if they stay in town through the holidays, many busy professionals adopt a lighter workload to enjoy the time of year. This could mean you are now able to schedule time with that busy networking contact you've been trying to grab a coffee with. Suggest an early, brief meeting (45-60 minutes) at a location that is convenient for the contact. This feels doable during a busy personal time when many people have family visiting and/or kids home from school.
Some Companies Prefer to Hire at the End of the Year.
This allows a new employee to start in early January and the employer to kick off the new year with new talent in place. In this case, their interviewing process might be in full force during October, November and December. Additionally, a new year is when new headcount and growth plans are set in motion.
Instead of relegating the end of the year to an eggnog coma, focus on:
- refining your resume -- have it proofread by at least three colleagues and friends
- updating your online profiles to include keywords your target employers use often
- registering for more targeted, in-person networking events, where you can practice your focused and friendly elevator pitch
- organizing your closet so your "interview suit" is cleaned and ready to go when the request comes in
- reaching out to colleagues from your military career or civilian work to reacquaint them with your skills, goals and expertise
- spending time on self-care -- get sleep, eat healthy and exercise to keep yourself in top job search competition shape
The holidays are a great time for job seekers. Don't hide in front of the television, get out into the community (in person and online) and build relationships where you can promote your personal brand and skills. This ensures you start off the new year with your best foot forward.
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