Many job seekers take a break from their job search during the holiday season, but experienced career counselors suggest that you keep your foot on the job search pedal instead. The month of December can be a great time to stay focused on your job search because managers are often pushing to fill jobs before their current budget year ends. Many employers want to be fully staffed and ready to start the new year strong, so if you contact them during the final weeks of the year, you might have a better chance of getting their attention.
The best way to take advantage of the holiday season and keep your job search momentum going is to focus on building relationships, says job search strategist Hannah Morgan (During the Holidays, Focus on Relationship Building). As Morgan points out, more people land new jobs through networking than applying online, so expanding the size and strength of your network at holiday events is a smart job search strategy. The holiday season brings more events and get-togethers that can provide more casual and less stressful opportunities to socialize and network.
Connect with people you know. The holidays are the perfect time to reach out to people you know and wish them well. Reconnect with old friends, mention that you are looking for a job and don’t be shy about asking for advice and information. Reach out to past colleagues who may be more available during the holidays and ask if they would like to meet for coffee or catch up by phone. When you let people know about your current career goals, they are generally quite willing to share their experience or offer ideas, opinions and information.
Meet new people. Look for holiday events in your local community sponsored by professional associations, chambers of commerce, Facebook groups and nonprofit organizations. Make the effort to attend one or more community events and leverage these opportunities to meet new people. You might want to set a goal, such as to meet and connect with three people at each event. Start conversations by focusing on the person you’re speaking with and showing interest in their experiences and activities. After you’ve established rapport, you can use the natural flow of the conversation to mention your career and job search goals and ask for any ideas or advice they may want to share.
Connect with people inside companies. December can be a good time to try connecting with people within organizations that you are interested in learning more about. Managers and employees sometimes have lighter workloads during the holidays and may be more receptive to phone calls or emails asking for information about their organizations. If you are able to contact people within your target organizations, try to arrange informational interviews in person or by phone.
If you can stay focused on moving your job search forward by building relationships during this holiday season, you just might end up networking your way to your next job.