The holidays can get overwhelming, add in the unemployment factor and they can be downright unbearable. Just because it’s the holiday season that doesn’t mean you should be pausing the pursuit of your dream job!
We asked industry experts for their best advice on revamping your job search tactics (and maintaining positivity) during the holidays. Here are their top tips:
"My advice over the holidays is to think more about socializing than networking and talk about how curious/excited you are about the next chapter of your career - never talk negatively about your last job/employer. If prompted, say you grew a lot through the experience."
Tanya Ezekiel, CEO and Executive Coach, Career Coach
"Over the holidays: Keep your job search as is! Many erroneously assume no one hires during the holiday season. They sometimes do, and if you lose momentum during this time, it will be harder to get back to it in the New Year!"
Julie Cohen, PCC, Executive Coach, Work.Life.Leader.
''Do not be discouraged! The holidays can be a great time to job hunt. Retailers are forecasted to make over 675,000 hires this holiday season, and that's in the US alone." (Source)
Kayla Kozan, Director of Marketing, Ideal
"While most people focus on resumes, networking, and other such endeavors… I start with “mindset.” In my best-selling book 5 Steps to Rapid Employment (McGraw-Hill) – having a confident, positive mindset is step 1 – the foundation for all success. And I teach people HOW to maintain a positive attitude especially when the spaghetti hits the fan."
Jay Block, Rapid Employment & Career Management Coach
"Don't wait until January to search for a job. Because so many unemployed people opt out of job search during November and December, the competition is less stiff and there are companies who want to interview candidates in the next few weeks so that new hires can start working at the beginning of the new year."
Janet Scarborough Civitelli, Career Coach, Vocation Village
"Make and keep yourself highly visible, because if the employer is searching for talent during this time period, they are serious. When most people would slack off, YOU step up."
Linda Allen, Editor/Owner, Ms. Career Girl
"December is one of the best months to job hunt given that companies are completing their budgets and aware of the resources they can afford in the new year! December is also great because job seekers assume no one is hiring-- so the competition is lighter. My best advice is to make sure you're sending cold emails in the first half of December before employees are away from their desk. Keep a list of names so you can follow up for a cup of coffee in the new year."
Ashley Stahl, CEO and Career Coach, Ashley International
"Get crystal clear on the work you REALLY want to be doing. Employers are more likely to hire you for what you’re GREAT at, and also LOVE to do. Because if those two crucial elements are in place... you’re more likely to get the job done well!"
Shannon O’Brien, Founder and Principal Advisor, WholeU
"Since your competition is taking a Christmas break, call the #800 as part of your research to reach key insiders gathering names, roles, and a first-hand account of company culture. Customer service is slow and reps will have time for short conversations."
Mark Anthony Dyson, MAEd/AET, The Voice of Job Seekers
"Target the employers you want to work for, send a tailored, well written CV and have patience. Christmas is not a dead hiring season, but things tend to move slower than normal, and you may have to wait some time before you get a final decision."
Koulla Raouna, Career Adviser, CareerAddict
"Even though most hiring slows down dramatically as we approach Thanksgiving, you can take advantage of the holiday lull by fine tuning your resume and social media profiles, sending strategically targeted season's greetings to key decision-makers, attending holiday gatherings to politely network, and stepping up your game by being one of the few job seekers who doesn't throw in the towel until the New Year."
Grant Cooper, Certified Resume Writer & Career Coach, Strategic Resumes & Business Plans of New Orleans
"The holidays are not the time for traditional "job search" activities or for reaching out to people asking for help. But it IS a perfect time for other social and collaborative endeavors that will help you in your career growth - including bonding and connecting with inspiring new and former colleagues, developing and communicating your unique competitive advantage, updating your LinkedIn profile so it rocks (here's access to my Ultimate Guide to the Perfect LinkedIn Summary and my recent Facebook Live video on the common LinkedIn blunders to avoid), sharing what you know, building your unique thought leadership, and reconnecting with former colleagues, peers and managers who can be amazing supporters, sponsors, mentors and ambassadors."
"1: Think of ONE word you would like to describe your career (or life) in 2017 and focus your energy on achieving that. (For instance, if you plan to use "Adventure" to describe the new year, write down goals that will support the creation of "adventure" in your new job!)" 2: Use holiday social events to network with friends and loved ones; you never know what opportunities may be presented! 3: Commit to yourself and commit to your job search by setting realistic goals, updating your resume, and polishing up your interview skills. 4: Remain diligent and positive throughout your job search since employers are always looking for the right employee!"
Kristen Gilbert, President, Evolution Coaching
"Don’t take December off! December is a busy month with holiday parties and preparation. Many job seekers take the month off thinking, “no one hires in December.” Some organizations will release their 2017 budgets in December which allows them to start the hiring process. By taking the month off, you will miss out on opportunities. December is also a great month for networking and building relationships."
Amy Wolfgang, M.Ed., PCM, CEO, Wolfgang Career Coaching | Founding Partner, Coaching 4 Good
"Don’t just rely on posted job openings—you’ll increase your odds of success if you interact with your network, including LinkedIn, to find potential jobs that haven’t yet been publicized."
Georgia Adamson, MRW / ACRW / CPRW / CJSS / CEIP, A Successful Career
“Don’t listen to or be dissuaded by those who say that it’s pointless looking for a job at this time of year because I can tell you that recruiters most certainly DO hire over the holiday season and, what’s more, you’ll not only have less competition (and get ahead of the January rush) but it’s a great time to speak with recruiters when they’re in a good mood and filled with festive spirit!”
James Innes, James Innes Group
"Job seekers may take a back seat during the holidays, but it is crucial to make contact with key target companies and people as they are getting ready to hire in the first quarter. Attend holiday parties as it sets you up to network and provides the opportunity to “plant seeds” with contacts."
Katie B. Smith, Executive Coach, Katie B. Smith & Associates
"The spirit of the holiday season often facilitates the openness of others to connect, so continue to reach out to people in your network to learn more about their work, career trajectory, and awareness of opportunities in their industry."
Mitchell Friedman, Ed.D., APR, Career Coach
"Keep it professional on your social channels during the holidays - and beyond. One of the first places we vet candidates would be via their social outlets: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Before you post those holiday pics make sure you think about who could be watching!"
Kelly Ehlers, President, Ideas That Evoke
"The holidays are a great time to set goals and do some industry research to make sure you're earning what you're worth, allowing you to kick off the new year by asking for a raise or seeking new opportunities."
Jim Hopkinson, Founder, Salary Tutor
"Volunteer to provide holiday coverage. Contact one of the companies you are targeting for a job opportunity. Offer to cover for staff absences during the holiday period. This should be in an area in which you have expertise, or an assignment that’s not difficult to learn. It gets your foot in the door and a couple of people to add to your network."
Daisy Wright, Career Management Coach & Chief Encouragement Officer, The Wright Career Solution
"Always pick an industry over a job. Too often people look for a role and they don't care about the industry. It should be the other way around. Otherwise, you'll never become an industry expert."
"Focus on having fun, networking and building relationships at the countless social gatherings the holidays offer. Arrive early, make it a point to introduce yourself to event speakers and other notable attendees but also take a genuine interest in everyone you meet even if you don't see immediately how they could help you land a job. Most jobs are landed by referral and you never know who knows who."
Maggie Mistal, Career Change Coach and Executive Coach, MMM Career Consulting
"Nurture and expand your network before you need to them for job referrals (and if you haven’t done this, start today. Our network is the most important activity we can to do create our next job opportunity. But, most people fail to keep their network on their radar until they need a referral. The problem with that is you can’t make demands of others if you haven’t been nurtured the relationship. Reciprocity requires you give to the relationship first."
Dorothy Tannahill-Moran, The Introvert Whisperer
"Forget the goal of "looking for a job" and instead, bring your curiosity and a spirit of service to every interaction you have--whether it's a family gathering, a holiday party, or coffee with an acquaintance. The reasoning being that when you are interested in others, others will be interested in you. Our best opportunities come from others. This assumes that the job seeker is clear on what he/she is looking for, so that others can help."
Carol Ross, Career Integration Coach, Carol Ross and Associates LLC
"Don't just apply online. Get out there and meet people who are hiring. A smile and a handshake say a lot more than your resume ever could."
Anna Runyan, Founder & CEO, Classy Career Girl
“Accept as many holiday invitations as you can realistically manage (or attend a variety of public celebratory events), so you can connect with new people who are already welcoming those in holiday spirit.”
Amy L. Adler, President, Five Strengths Career Transition Experts
"Bravo! You’re not hanging up your job search because it’s the holidays! Stay focused on your goals: keeping your brand up-to-date using LinkedIn, your résumé, networking, informational meetings, company research. Companies are hiring now and they’re positioning themselves to hire in January. You’ll have the edge over others because you’ve kept doing your footwork!"
Becky Berry, Head Coach, Becky Berry Coaching
"Be responsive. Employers who are ramping up their seasonal workforce have an immediate need to fill openings, and there’s a huge sense of urgency to lock in qualified candidates. If you’re going to apply, do it quickly, stay connected and be ready to respond."
Amy Glaser, Senior Vice President, Adecco Staffing
"At the heart of successful networking is a mindset of giving, so use this holiday season to develop your reputation as someone who is interested, helpful, and trustworthy will lead the way for others to willingly and generously want to help you in."
Donna Sweidan, Career Coach, Careerfolk, LLC
"It’s a great time to stop for a few days and take stock. Revisit, or if you haven’t yet, create your vision of what your ideal role or opportunity is. This provides a direction and purpose for your job search in 2017."
Jon Le Breton, Career Coach & Speaker
"Keep actively looking! Companies ARE still hiring, and you'll have less competition from other job seekers, so don't let up momentum over the holidays."
Hannah Martin, Founder, Talented Ladies Club
“Don't think of your resume as your "search" but rather as a tool in your search.”
Lora B. Poepping, President, Plum Coaching & Consulting
We can’t guarantee that your crazy Aunt Mary won’t ask when you’re finally getting married, or your grandpa won’t drink too much eggnog—but we can promise that companies will still be searching for candidates throughout the holiday season.