With the holidays around the corner, most job seekers could be wondering if they should hang up their boots temporarily and indulge in the holiday celebrations. However, we think taking a break from your job search is a mistake, because contrary to the belief, hiring does not stop.
Gone are the days when the last weeks of December meant little to no hiring. The fact is that while the holidays do cause businesses to slow down, employers are still interviewing and hiring -- and are deep into planning for 2015. Also, considering that most people would succumb to temptation and take time off from job hunting activities, there is less competition in the job market – which is an advantage to you as a job seeker!
Here are some tips on how to make the most of the holidays for your job search:
1) Personal Branding
Work on your personal brand. This would mean updating your LinkedIn profile and organizing all your professional information on your profile. Take this opportunity to update your LinkedIn headline as well – watch this video to learn more.
Spend time searching yourself on Google. Social media plays a key role in how employers find information about you. Spend time to update your information and manage your brand online.
2) Research on companies
It is a good time to research, and approach potential employers. Even if the organization doesn’t post a job, it doesn’t mean they aren’t looking to fill a position.
Focus on putting together a list of dream companies. Look up one of your favorite companies on LinkedIn, and then check out the “people also viewed” section to find more great workplaces. When you do start job hunting, this will help keep you laser focused and actually get you excited (yes, it’s possible!) about landing a gig at one of your dream companies.
3) Update your resume & cover letters
Use your free time to update your resume and create different versions for it for the various roles you plan to target. Based on the information you have collected while researching roles in companies, you can work on developing resumes that are customized to the requirements laid out in the job descriptions. Remember, once you have spent time creating various versions, you can use them for similar roles in the future.
You could also start creating sample cover letter templates for yourself. You can modify these cover letters based on the job descriptions and little research that you might have to do at the time of application. This will save you time while applying for jobs.
4) Set short term goals
The holidays bring with them time to think and plan. Use this time to create short term goals that you want to achieve in the new year.
5) Connect with your references
The holidays are a good time to connect with your references – start reaching out to them. You can call or email them to wish them for the holidays and ask permission to send them a copy of your resume and a brief on the kind of roles you are applying for. This gives them a heads-up and gives them enough notice to help you get the job. Given it is the holidays, people are more relaxed and open to helping – it is the season of giving afterall!
6) Spend time reading and writing
Since the holidays come with some of down time, spend it wisely to read and update yourself with industry information. You can also start writing a blog or on Linkedin Long-Form on the job function or industry you are keen to grow in. These articles with insights will help build your personal brand as well as empower you with talking points for your next interview.
7) Reach out to your contacts and family
Make sure to mingle with everyone at family events. You never know which uncle or neighbor might be able to help you with your job search.
The holidays are a great reason to reach out to friends and acquaintances as well as to reconnect with people you may have fallen out of contact with. Send out a holiday greeting, but add a little extra in your message to everyone in your job search universe. And be sure to express your gratitude to all those who respond to your requests during your search.
The holidays are a good time to give back, while establishing visibility at the same time. Make time to volunteer to hone skills at a place of interest that can be put on your resume.
Finally, remember to stay focused and not lose your momentum. We hope you found these tips useful. If you have any other tips that have helped you beat the job search blues during the holidays, share your thoughts with us on LinkedIn, Twitter.