Many people mistakenly believe that the onset of Christmas and New Year means that the probability of securing employment is greatly reduced. While there may have been some merit to this idea twenty or thirty years ago the reality is this: December is a great month for job search and networking!
December is not a Hiring Downtime Anymore
Here are five good reasons why you should remain active in your job search in December:
1. The seasonal downtime that was once typical across many organizations has all but disappeared.
No doubt part of this lies in a more multicultural workforce where not everyone celebrates Christmas. However, in a much more competitive workplace the notion of taking two to three weeks is no longer the norm.
2. Many businesses scale back their operations particularly when their fiscal year end coincides with the end of the calendar year. As businesses tally their financial successes and failures and make plans for the coming year, they often recognize the need for additional staff and begin making hiring plans for early January.
3. Many organizations have performance bonuses that pay out at year-end. Those organizations likely have employees who may have been actively job searching for months, and are probably sitting on offers and “chomping at the bit” awaiting their bonus payout. Some of these employees will be tendering their resignations early in January.
4. Connecting with hiring managers is actually easier than at other times of the year. Call it “seasonal cheer”, or “Christmas spirit”, or whatever you want, but people are actually more agreeable, easier to reach and more receptive to networking meetings or telephone calls.
5. Companies with seasonal workforces, or organizations that experience last minute emergencies, can’t afford to prolong recruitment. They need someone, and they likely needed them yesterday.
Networking with purpose over the holidays
As a job seeker how should you capitalize on this? Here are some thoughts and ideas:
1. Be available. If you get contacted for an interview, or a last-minute interview opportunity arises, take it. The more willing you are to work or respond to an employer the greater the likelihood that you get hired even in December. I recall earlier in my career attending a first interview Christmas Eve, a second interview New Year’s Eve, and getting a job offer January 3rd. The fact that I was available and made the effort to go in for an interview on short notice was a major factor in my success.
2. Leverage Linked In to your advantage. Look at all the people who are your connections. Identify those with whom you may have lost touch, or who may be in a position to assist you in your search. Make a point of contacting at least three of them a day, and try to schedule a networking coffee or lunch. If your schedule doesn’t allow you to meet with them now schedule a meeting in January.
3. Send Christmas cards to key contacts. Yes, I know it sounds a bit passé, but it is a simple and effective way of getting your name in front of people who may impact your success. It also demonstrates follow up and a willingness to build and maintain relationships, and ultimately, that is what networking is about.
4. Attend seasonal celebrations, parties and events. Take advantage of each and every invitation to a social event this time of year. Try to attend as many Christmas parties and year- end festivities as possible. Make a point of connecting with at least one or two new people at each gathering.
5. Reflect & Be Thankful. Use time with family and friends to reacquaint them with your goals and aspirations, and seek their counsel and support in your job search. As well, connect with those who have actively supported you during your transition. Make a point of thanking them individually for their understanding and encouragement, and update them on the status of your search.
6. Plan your Job Search. A huge component of job search success is preparation and planning. Set aside some time over the holidays to plan your job search so you can identify the organizations and people you need to apply to or connect so you can “hit the ground running” early in January.
December: A Time for Thanks and Reflection
For many people December can be a very stressful time and that is especially true for those in career transition. However, whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas or New Years’, all of these milestones and celebrations are linked by common themes focusing on reflection, thanks and renewal. Take comfort in the gifts of time, love, family and friends, and wherever possible, take time to support others in need.
A Final Thought….
If you are in transition over the holidays, my wish for you is resilience to overcome your fears and worry, love and support to help you transcend your obstacles, and a renewed sense of optimism in the hope that the coming year brings you happiness, satisfaction and gainful employment.
Best wishes for a wonderful holiday and a happy and healthy 2023!!