Just How Much Job Searching “Should” You be Doing Over the Holidays?

22 Dec

If you’ve been following me on Facebook or Twitter recently, you’ve probably seen a slew of articles I’ve promoted around the idea of not stalling on your job search just because it’s the holidays.  And that is true – the holidays are no excuse to drop the ball (no pun intended) and lose momentum.

If you think about it, this doesn’t happen with any other job – projects are still due, time and staff still need to be allocated to the appropriate tasks, and someone has to field the phone calls and emails when customers or clients need a last minute request fulfilled on before the new year.  In most cases, a true, dedicated professional wouldn’t think of leaving the office for vacation, knowing there’s a ginormously important meeting at the start of the following week, and allowing the materials for such to remain in rough draft on their hard drive.  It’s just common sense practice, and covering your own butt.  Because honestly, I want to have a few cocktails and several pounds of homemade meatballs this weekend, not an anxiety attack.  If I’m going to be making excuses, they’re going to be around not wanting to go anywhere near Manhattan on New Year’s Eve, and not why I didn’t take the initiative to polish off my to-do list before 5pm on the 23rd.

You’ve heard people talk about how job searching is its own full time job.  And the good thing about that is that you’re basically your own boss.  So from one sole proprietor to another, I can say without a doubt that being able to understand and practice accountability is by far one of the most important skills involved in being in business for yourself.  And without a doubt, the same principle applies to the “business” of job searching.

However…nobody expects you to be pounding the virtual pavement with resumes while you’re counting down the ball drop.  Nor do you really want to, let’s be honest here.  When you’re looking for work, particularly around the consumer-centric holiday season, it’s easy to feel guilty about wanting to take a break and actually enjoy the season with family and friends.  So given all of the advice to keep the momentum going during the holidays, where does it really make sense to focus your job search efforts, and what can you realistically expect to get accomplished?  If you have a clear idea of what you want to hold yourself accountable to, as well as where you want to establish the boundaries, you’ll be in a great spot as you ring in 2011 – both to see results, and do a little celebrating!

Interviewing

While some people think this is a great time to get an interview because your competition will be slacking off, that’s not the case.  I was a recruiter, and I have a number of friends and colleagues who still recruit for a living, and every one of them will tell you how difficult it is to get a candidate in any door at the end of December.  Even existing interviews have to be rescheduled, and new interviews are pushed off until the new year.  Because when HR brings you in to interview, they want to maximize time and have you meet multiple team members.  And someone important is always on an early flight to spend Christmas in Miami.

Networking

Holiday parties are a perfect excuse to network effortlessly while still enjoying yourself!  Your reputation doesn’t take a holiday, so make that work to your benefit.  Get on LinkedIN, get on your email, and take advantage of the fact that people will not only have time to read your emails, but potentially even respond to them.  Make new connections, or seek out the people who work at the companies you want to, and ask them what they like about the place.  Everyone loves to talk about themselves, so give them the opportunity to do so, and they might just give you good information.

Researching

Continue to do your research. You may not see a ton of new jobs posted after mid-December, but this is a perfect time to research companies you want to work for, and job titles that interest you.

Applying

Continue to send your resume out, but be strategic about it.  If there’s a company you’re dying to work for, sending your resume via job board may cause it to sit idle in an inbox that’s not tended to for 2 weeks while Johnny HR Manager is in Maine. And as a result, you may miss your shot at being seen.  In some cases, it may make more sense to use this time to build your network strategically and reach-out to others in your industry, so that come January, you’re ready to send your resume & cover letter to an actual person at that dream company who already knows vaguely who you are.

Know that in the same way that some companies want to use up their remaining hiring budget for 2010 and go on a hiring spree in December, others are conversely totally tapped out, and are purposely waiting until January to start fielding candidates for open positions.

Reviewing Your Results Thus Far

-Take stock of where you feel you’ve been missing the mark up to this point.  Are you striking out on interviews?  Is your resume not getting you interviews in the first place?  Do you have no idea whatsoever how to use LinkedIN and other social media?  Do you only attend networking events for the free drinks? Perhaps its time to reach out to someone who specializes in assisting job seekers in these areas, like a career coach.

Don’t feel guilty, and similarly don’t go overboard. Just as you would do in any other month, be strategic about how you go about your job search.  There are benefits to the slow-down of the holiday season, and of course there are disadvantages.  If you know how to make the most of each and plan your actions and expectations accordingly, then go ahead and enjoy that champagne – you’ve earned it.

Happy Holidays, and here’s to empowerment, success and positive results in 2011!

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One Response to “Just How Much Job Searching “Should” You be Doing Over the Holidays?”

  1. Dani Ticktin Koplik December 29, 2010 at 10:46 am #

    All great advice! I really endorse using the temporary lull for taking stock, assessing the process so far, seeing what works and regrouping for effective course correction.
    It’s also a great time to investigate new strategies, like the re-imagined career event — bubble2boardroom — scheduled for January 8, 2011 in NYC. It features high-profile speakers, interactive skills workshops, live demos, laser coaching and facilitated networking. It’s all content, all the time. Up close and personal. http://www.bubble2boardroom.com

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