December 16, 2008

5 Tips for Job Hunting During Holiday Season

My local paper ran a story in the Sunday edition about job hunting during the holiday season. It got me thinking. 

Their job expert said good job hunters know that there is no such thing as a holiday break when you are looking for a job.  She suggested that there are two reasons for the full throttle approach to job hunting during the holidays:

* Companies that are planning to hire in January (and there are still some of them) have already allocated the funds for the new employee’s salary — which means, they are interviewing and making job offers NOW.

* A lot of job hunters take a break during the holiday season.  It’s cold, it’s dreary, and the economic forecast is more of the same.  Many of your would-be competitors figure they might as well enjoy some happy family time this holiday season and then  get back on the job hunt bandwagon come the new year.  By continuing your job search in earnest, you can get a leg-up.  Yours will be the first resume to cross a desk, yours will be one of fewer interviews — all of which makes a bigger impression.

Convinced that it’s a good idea to keep up with your job search, even during the holiday season?  Good!  Then here are five suggestions for making the most of your ho-ho-hunting.

1. Network at holiday parties.
You don’t want to be over the top, but you do want to mention to casual friends and new acquaintances that you are searching for a new job.  Carry extra business cards with you wherever you go, and be prepared to hand them out.

2.  Attend professional association gatherings.
Even in these hard-hit economic times, most professional associations are still holding end-of-the-year events.  Get yourself invited and then follow the advice in #1.

3. Send out holiday cards.
Not the kind with cute pictures of your kids or tales of your latest rock-climbing adventure. 

Send out nice, but casual holiday cards to the people on your networking list.  Include a sentiment about a productive, fruitful and successful year ahead.  If printing holiday cards is not in your budget, consider an email greeting. Either way, the goal is to remind people, subtly and convivially, that you are out there.

4. Get a seasonal job.
Retail may — or may not — be your dream job. But getting a seasonal retail job or other service industry position, is a great way to earn some extra cash while building up your resume and exposing yourself to new networking opportunities.  Most seasonal gigs are part-time, so will still be able to dedicate full-time energy to your job search as well.

5. Volunteer.
‘Tis the season to be generous.  Spend a few hours every week helping others and gain a little perspective on your own struggles. Plus, many volunteer abroad placements offer leadership and executive experience to help you round out your resume and opportunities to meet people you may one day want to work with or for. Remember this recent post about the many benefits of volunteering?

Are you looking for a job this holiday season?  How do you stay  motivated to keep plugging away at it, even when the eggnog and latkes are calling your name?

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