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In the Job Search: It’s a “Holiday Window Of Opportunity”

by Janet Fagan
“‘Tis the season to be jolly.”

We are all getting ready for the holidays and while, for many of us, this does not entail a job search, for some of us or for family or friends, it does.

Janet Fagan M.Ed., ACC, JCTC

Janet Fagan M.Ed., ACC, JCTC

If this is not pertinent to you or your situation, how about sharing it with someone who may need some job search tips? I have seen it work time and time again, having coached countless job candidates who have successfully managed to land a new position during the holiday season!

This is the time of year we celebrate with family and friends, get shopping done, send greeting cards, etc. Those who are in the job search may think this is the perfect opportunity to put their job search on hold. “Why not?” they often ask. “Everyone knows that nothing happens during the holidays, right?” No!

Contrary to popular belief, the six-week window between Thanksgiving and New Year’s can be the best time to conduct a job search and participate in active networking opportunities. Consider the following factors:

Competition Decreases: There are two main reasons:  1. Passive job-seekers (people who are already employed but routinely “looking”) typically stop campaigning during this window because they find there just isn’t enough time to get everything done and job search isn’t really a top priority.   2. All of the job-seekers who believe in the holiday slowdown myth, will, typically, reduce their efforts and plan on getting started again after the holidays (this also may be an excuse to do the more relatively pleasant holiday tasks).

Business Travel Slows Down: More decision-makers are available for informational meetings and interviews and they may try to finalize any hiring in the process.

Budgets: Depending on the fiscal arrangement of the company, there are many ways to look at this factor. In some cases, positions not filled by year-end could be lost to future budget cuts (use it or lose it). Also, many companies run their fiscal year concurrent with the calendar year, so first-quarter hiring approvals made during the fall budgetary season are now being actively recruited.

Receptivity: Networking is normally easier since there are many more opportunities for the savvy job-seeker to make contacts and attend holiday functions. Holidays tend to slow the pace of many offices, making them more relaxed. People may be more receptive to a visit from a former colleague or someone referred by a friend. It is also true that, with the proper introductions, hiring managers and executives will often spend more time with the active candidate and solidify selections with start dates beginning in the first quarter.

Some Holiday Ideas and Strategies for Job Seekers
• Try to be visible. Conduct networking meetings, attend business functions and make sure to visit with your career contact network members. Be cordial and don’t apply any pressure. Avoid turning conversations at a party into interviews; keep it casual. Your job search is a priority to you but not to anyone else.
• Send holiday cards to your friends and network contacts, both in and out of town, to let them know of your activity.
• If a family gathering is planned in an out-of-town location, go early and network; carry some resumes and/or business cards. And, remember: Job search activities are tax deductible.
• Contact or send network letters to people in your areas of interest promoted at yearend, with the thought that they may be hiring in January or February.
• Many clubs, organizations and professional associations have parties, but shop talk generally still continues. This is a good time to meet people who normally don’t attend regularly scheduled events.
• The year-end conversations at parties can be very productive since new projects, planned expansions or any current or anticipated openings may be revealed and contact names can be collected. Company parties also provide an opportunity to meet clients and vendors hosting the event. You may find that many people you chat with at such parties interested in industry knowledge you possess, and vice-versa.
• Re-send resumes and broadcast targeted marketing letters. Because recruiters normally reduce their travel, they have more time to more time to read/review your inquiries. Managers who weren’t available suddenly are.

• Many companies experiencing good results are written about on the Internet, or local papers, at year-end. Make new contacts with growth firms. Build your network for January visits.
• Re-contact the state job service and review their employer listings of positions.

State agencies all have their own CIDS (Career Information Delivery Systems) via Department of Labor programs. You may find positions there that are not listed on other career and job board sites.

Remember that it’s important to keep yourself ready during the holidays. Securing a position is a 40-plus-hour-a-week activity and luck always favors the prepared!

A quote from Henry David Thoreau sums it up nicely: “The secret of achievement is to hold a picture of a successful outcome in the mind.” For those focused on the job search, enjoy the holidays and look forward to a new year and a new job! Not only is this a joyous season, but it can also be the season for career success!

Janet L. Fagan, M.Ed., ACC, JCTC, is a certified life, career and business coach. For more information, call 928-203-4816 or visit www.fagancoaching.com.


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