Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Postponing Your Search During The Holidays -- A Bad Choice

The Holidays are upon us - keep on searching!  You'll be glad you did!  
With the passing of Halloween, the holiday season arrives.  People's thoughts turn to the holidays --  plans, preparations, parties, travel . . . . . and with it, many job seekers thoughts turn to shutting down their job searches.  My advice --  don't do it!

A Bad Choice
As the holiday season arrives, many job seekers make a bad decision - to lessen, or shut down all-together, their job search with the thought that they will renew and resume their search in the new year.  Bad decision!  Why?  A misunderstanding of  how hiring happens.

Many job seekers mistakenly believe that employers stop hiring during the last couple months of the year.  Not true - My best and most poignant example is a client who received their job offer on the afternoon of December 24 - it was around 2:30 pm.

Sure employers become busy with not only holiday company events, but end-of-the-year tasks and requirements that must be accomplished before they can call it a year and go home for their own holiday break!  So hiring may slow.  But, if they have open positions that are critical to performance in the new calendar year, they will want to fill these before December 31.  With that hiring task behind them, they can hit the ground running on January 2.

Add to this misunderstanding of end-of-the-year hiring the fact that job searching is hard, and job seekers have a case for postponing their search until the new year.  If a job seeker has been working hard for months with no job offer to show for it, and feeling pretty discouraged, stressed, and even defeated, taking time off from your search during the holidays can seem like an attractive option. 

But, don't do it.  You will benefit by maintaining your search right through the holidays.  Here's how:
Continued benefits
So keep on searching right through the holiday season.  You will benefit by:
● Having a slightly more open field where the competition lessens due to the fact that many of your competitors will drop out of the race due to their mistaken belief that employers don't hire during the holidays. 
Maintaining your job search momentum and staying visible and current with you network  -- thus keeping your pipeline for leads and opportunities open and fed.
Continuing your follow-up on open positions and opportunities.  

Added advantages
(1)  Employers may have time to talk!  Throughout the year, many employers who just don't have the time to talk, or network, with you often find that their schedules slow a bit.  With their employees beginning to use their vacation leave ("use it or lose it") and others on travel, employers sometimes find "holes," or time, in their schedules due to the fact that they can't move forward on projects without the assistance of the absent employees.  So they may be able to talk by phone or even squeeze in a meeting with you.
(2)  Holiday get-togethers abound!  Take advantage of these opportunities to attend --  business cards in hand -- and get known! 
Friends, families, neighborhoods, and groups hold parties and events. 
Professional organizations and professional societies substitute holiday parties and networking events for their regular monthly program format.

A different twist
It is true that the holidays present a different twist on job search.  While hiring may slow, networking opportunities increase.  You can gain visibility and add to your list of network contacts.  Your challenge is to understand and act on these opportunities that the holiday season brings.  

If your search is well underway, it may be possible to achieve your goal and secure an offer by the end of the year.  If you search is recently begun, and you are not yet engaged in pursuing specific opportunities, it is less likely that you can generate an offer by the end of the year but you can advance your cause.

Scenario 1:  Your search is well underway
If your search is well underway, and you are engaged in pursuing jobs for which you have networked or interviewed, you may be able to be able to turn the opportunity into an offer by the end of the year.  Be proactive in following up with the employer, offering to supply any additional information, to update them on additional credentials you have attained, to meet other members of the staff, or to inform them of your availability for a final interview.  Express your continued interest in and great enthusiasm for the firm and for the position.

Scenario 2:  Your search is just getting started
Just beginning?  Beginning your search activity near the end of the year will put you ahead of the crowd who plan to begin their job searches in the new year - a really popular New Years Resolution.  However, there is a lot of preparatory work in getting a search underway and these last couple months of the year are a good time for a job seeker to do that.  It takes a month or two to prepare your marketing materials, and begin to re-connect with your network as well as to gain referrals to new network contacts.  It takes time to get applications submitted.  In sales jargon - it takes time to open and feed the pipeline.  You can accomplish all this and more if you begin now.  And it means you will be well positioned to hit the ground running in the new year.

Continuing to maintain an active search, or begin one, during the holidays, makes good $en$e.

For additional information and advice, click on the "Articles" tab and refer to the Planning and Strategy section of the AJC–Career Strategy website.
For additional information on marketing yourself and your capabilities, please refer to the many articles found under the Articles tabs of the AJC–Career Strategy website.
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