Career Collective post: Once a month, a group of career professionals blog on a subject topical and timely for a job seeker. We’ll post our thoughts on our own blog and link to the post of our colleagues on the same topic.
This month’s topic: What are some specific tips to help job seekers really ramp up their efforts for the holiday season and the new year. Responses from others contributors linked at the end.
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After receiving the topic for this month’s Career Collective post, I bet I’ve read more than 50 articles addressing different aspects of staying motivated during the holiday season in the past few weeks. And that’s a mere drop in the bucket compared to what’s out there. Today, a Google search using “Job search during the holidays” brings back 97,500 (and counting) results. In fact, digging through my own archives, I found a post I wrote addressing this very topic last year. I’m not even going to try and condense all the Web wisdom I found in this one post, but will share a few ideas:
- Attend holiday parties. Enforce and expand your network.
- Ask friends to take you to their holiday work parties so you can network.
- Connect with company executives during holiday gathering. They’re more accessible.
- Send holiday greetings to your network thanking them for their support during the year.
- Start networking by sending holiday cards to people you’ve not contacted lately.
Do you see the common thread? Network, network, connect, network, network. I’ll say it again. NETWORK.
Between all the holiday decorating, baking, shopping, wrapping and traveling, who has time to sit down and rev up a resume, compose a cover letter or conduct company research? If you do, bravo. If you need to do it, then make the time. For the rest, rather than add more stress to your already crazy schedule, use holiday gatherings as an opportunity to connect and shore up your search. But use discretion. (I’ll spare you the “don’t drink too much” lecture. You should know that by now.)
Holiday networking doesn’t mean running up to Uncle Nuncio, who you’ve not seen in years, hugging him and launching into your 30-second elevator pitch or handing out business cards willy-nilly and espousing your career goals at every holiday event. It means, being interested in others and being interesting in what you share. Interesting/interested usually doesn’t include every detail of your search or employment status. Want to disperse a crowd quickly? Dominate the conversation, especially with your job search frustrations, and turn every topic back to you and what you need. With that approach, don’t be surprised when people start checking their imaginary watches, develop urgent bladder issues or start backing away from you slowly.
Instead, allow conversations to happen. Engage. Spend more time listening to what’s going on around than you do telling your story. Eventually those conversations turn to work. It’s where we spend a good deal of time so naturally, the story telling moves to work-related topics. By listening, you’ll learn about Suzy’s pregnancy and upcoming maternity leave, a company’s restructure, Bob’s surgery and mandatory two-month recuperation or corporate expansion plans. You might not know all the characters, but if you listen and ask questions these stories can open the door to opportunity for you. Pay attention.
Remember, if you look (and listen), while the rest of the world celebrates, you’re facing a reduced candidate pool, improving your chances of being noticed. Whether you’re actively seeking a job or a casual looker, the time of year, the day of the week shouldn’t have any impact on your approach to a job search. Prepared is prepared, regardless the time of year. Effectively managing your career means “ramped up” 24/7/365. Opportunity waits for no man (or woman.) Use the holiday season to reach out to old friends, make some new ones and enjoy yourself. But don’t fall into the trap of thinking hiring or chances for a new adventure disappear during the holidays. Listen closely. You may think you’re hearing jingle bells, but really, it’s opportunity.
(By the way, I received emails from two clients, in two completely different industries, this week excitedly sharing news of interviews. It’s a little more than two weeks before Christmas. And a third client contacted me for a quick update to pounce on an opportunity for a un-publicized position she found through networking with a friend. Doesn’t sound like “no holiday hiring” to me.)
Here’s what my colleagues have to say:
Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter @ValueIntoWords Navigating the Mistletoe of Job Search
Laurie Berenson @LaurieBerenson Three resolutions to take it up a notch
Martin Buckland @MartinBuckland @EliteResumes Season’s greetings and your job search
Chandlee Bryan @Chandlee Job search tips for the holidays
Megan Fitzgerald @expatcoachmegan Expat networking: Holidays are a great time to nurture and grow your network
Katharine Hansen, PhD @KatCareerGal Avoiding the holiday blues in your job search
G L Hoffman @GLHoffman Merry Christmas! Can I buy you coffee to talk about me?
Gayle Howard @GayleHoward It’s Christmas: And a ho-ho-ho-hum?
Heather Huhman @heatherhuhman 4 tips for making the most of holiday job hunting
Rosalind Joffe @WorkWithIllness Avoid this minefield: Drive your bus
Susan Joyce @jobhuntorg (Holiday) party your way to a new job
Erin Kennedy @ErinKennedyCPRW How to keep up the job hunt during the holidays
Grace Kutney @sweetcareers Holiday job search tips for college students 2009
Meg Montford @KCCareerCoach The gift every laid-off job seeker needs
Hannah Morgan @careersherpa Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa Cheers
Heather Mundell @heathermundell Have a holly jolly job search
Andy Robinson @andyinnaples Shift Your Focus to the Highest Impact Job Search Activities During the Holidays to Leverage Your Time
J. T. O’Donnell @careerealism Holiday tips for job seekers: 4 ways to impress others with your professionalism
Barbara Safani @BarbaraSafani Holiday networking can facillitate New Year opportunities
Miriam Salpeter @Keppie_Careers Four tips for effective networking follow-up for the holidays and the rest of the year
Rosa Vargas @resumeservice Holiday resume sparkle: Outshine the New Year job search mob