Job hunting is always tough but the holiday season can require an even more strategic approach. These are some basic principles and concrete steps to take for making the most of the special opportunities that exist at this time of year.
Basic Principles for Holiday Job Hunting
1. Recognize that people's schedules may be more irregular than usual.
During the holiday season, it's important to keep in mind that people may be out of the office more. Avoid becoming anxious just because your phone calls or emails fail to get returned promptly.
2. Be gentle with yourself.
For all the joy, the holidays can be an emotionally intense period under the best of circumstances. Take it easy on yourself when you're trying to cope with the financial and psychological impact of being unemployed.
3. Nourish your spirits.
Devote some regular time to activities that help you feel better. It will make it easier to project a positive attitude that improves your chances of getting a job offer. Get plenty of physical exercises to help stay energized.
4. Take a long-term perspective.
It's common for job searches to take longer than usual these days. Set incremental goals so you can acknowledge the progress while you're waiting for a job offer.
5. Welcome the reduced competition.
By continuing your job search towards the end of the year, you distinguish yourself from all those who may be tempted to take a hiatus. You might find that fewer applicants are coming forward for the openings that interest you.
Holiday Job Hunting Strategies
1. Network more.
It's a great season for networking. Accept party invitations. Talk with more new people. A good lead can come from unexpected sources. Volunteer work is another way to meet new people and try out new experiences.
2. Reestablish old connections.
Send out cards and make some phone calls. Sending holiday greetings gives you a ready-made reason to get in touch without putting people off by asking about job prospects directly.
3. Consider a temporary position.
Many companies hire temporary help this time of year. It could be a great way to pick up some extra cash and expand your skills.
4. Encourage gifts that will help your job search.
If people ask you what you want for Christmas, volunteer that you appreciate anything to help with your job search. It could be something like a gift certificate for a store that specializes in office wear.
5. Devote more time to research.
If things slow down, use this extra time wisely. Go online or visit the library to research potential employers and industry trends.
6. Update your resume.
This may also be a good time to review your written materials like resumes and cover letters. Look for ways to tweak your content to highlight your strong points and the contribution you could make to a potential employer.
7. Learn new skills.
You may also want to focus on mastering some new skills. Public libraries often offer free computer courses or workshops with experts who can assist you with your plans to start a small business of your own.
8. Make plans for the year ahead.
Keep your hopes up by planning for the year ahead. Set monthly goals for your job search. Make contingency plans so you'll feel more secure. Visualize finding the career opportunity that you seek.
It may feel especially unpleasant to be unemployed during the holidays when the rest of the world seems to be celebrating. Be kind to yourself to manage your emotions and relieve stress while you play an active role in building a better career future.