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Career Development Don Patarino

Job Searching Over the Holidays

Job searching over the holidays is an excellent opportunity when done strategically.

You have heard some of these phrases many times before:

“No one is hiring over the holidays.”

“Companies don’t hire over the holidays; they wait until after the new year.”

“Apply for a job after the holidays!”

Hearing these comments can be discouraging. While there may be fewer job postings from October through December, according to Lightcast, postings are still generally within 15% of postings for the leading quarters each year.

The fact is, job searching over the holidays is an excellent opportunity when done strategically. During this time, keep the following three core areas in mind:

Advantages of Holiday Job Searching

  1. Less Competition: Job seekers may put their search on hold during the holidays, thinking that companies don’t hire. This ends up creating a timeframe of opportunity with less competition, making it easier to stand out.
  2. Year-End Hiring Initiatives: Companies often have budgetary needs to hire roles before the end of the year which creates openings that need to be filled quickly or have offers made by December 31. 
  3. Networking Opportunities: Social events such as holiday parties, professional events, association celebrations, or award presentations are perfect. occasions to expand personal networks and make valuable connections. Attend events and listen for market intelligence and organizations in need of talent. With so many roles filled through referrals, the next employer can be found by attending events and through personal connections.
  4. Personal Touch: Many companies are more relaxed and inclined to focus on company culture and fit during the holiday season. This can present opportunities to highlight individual soft strengths and philosophical match.

Strategies for Holiday Job Searching

  1. Be Patient and Persistent: The hiring process may move slower during the holidays as key interviewers may take some time off. Be patient and don't get discouraged if there are no immediate responses or job offers. Follow up politely, professionally and regularly.
  2. Remain in the Holiday Spirit: Yes it can be discouraging when applying for jobs – especially during the holidays. However, more than ever during the year now is the time to be positive, reach out and attend events with high energy, and share excitement about the holiday season.
  3. Optimize Professional Online Profiles: Ensure LinkedIn and other profiles are up-to-date and professional, and highlight all relevant accomplishments. LinkedIn can be the primary place recruiters and potential employers look for talent – and with so many recruiters proactively searching for candidates, an up-to-date LinkedIn profile is important.
  4. Holiday Ready Cover/Thank-You Letters: Adapt personal branding assets such as cover letters and thank-you letters to be seasonally appropriate. Share enthusiasm for starting a new job during the holidays or after the new year.
  5. Personal Mental Wellness: Don't forget to take some personal downtime during the holiday season. Job searching can be tiring and stressful. Maintaining a balance is crucial for overall well-being and personal mental health.

Job Search Best Practices (at any time of year)

  1. Have a Plan: Be organized and create a job search schedule. Set aside time each day to research, apply, and follow up on job opportunities. And when not focused on job searching, spend time on things that bring joy!
  2. Network: Leverage network connections by attending events, connecting with former colleagues, or contacting mentors. Networking opens opportunities that many times are not available through online job boards.
  3. Tailor Applications: Customizing resumes and cover letters for roles is no longer a catchy, new idea, they are expected. Highlight skills and experiences that are most relevant to each individual job.
  4. Use Keywords from The Job Posting: When applying online, ensure the resume includes keywords and phrases included in the job posting. This will increase the chances of being noticed by Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).
  5. Practice Your Pitch: Craft a pitch and always be prepared to share the ideal role and why past skills are a match in less than 20 seconds no matter the location or situation. Opportunities can come up anytime and anywhere!

While the holiday season is a great time to celebrate, relax and spend quality time with friends and family, it is also an excellent time to pursue the next job opportunity. And with many buying into the “no one hires over the holidays” nonsense, it is undoubtedly an advantage with fewer job seekers in the market!

Be strategic. Stay active in the search. And best of luck in finding the next big adventure. We are rooting for job seekers!

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* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics 2023 / Occupational Outlook Handbook 2022. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.

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