What to Expect in a Holiday Job Hunt

winter-holiday-business-womanDo you plan on waiting until the holidays are over to continue your job search? That kind of thinking might cost you a job offer.

Don’t stop sending job applications just because of the holidays. Businesses don’t come to a grinding halt during holidays, right? Companies don’t stop hiring just because majority of the year’s holidays are bunched up together towards the end of the year. Remember, even if a company doesn’t hire in December, the first two weeks of January up until February are always high hiring months. If you take advantage of the year-end break, you’ll be on top of the queue once the hiring process is in full swing.

Take advantage of this down time! When other job applicants are doing their Christmas shopping or sipping eggnog, make yourself busy by sending out your resume or dropping a friendly “Happy Holidays” e-mail, voicemail, or personal note to your network.

Job hunting during the holidays is almost the same as regular months, with a few minor exceptions…

Be prepared for last-minute interviews
Key decision makers are on leave, or maybe they’re busy attending parties and networking events. The point is, the people who are supposed to do the job interview won’t be spending much of their working hours in the office this month so because of this, some interviews might be moved, cancelled or re-scheduled at a short notice. Being the applicant who agrees to an interview on short notice can give you a leg up, even against more qualified candidates. Who knows, if the job is urgent, you might even get an offer on the spot.

Party… Wisely
If you choose which events to attend solely on the merit of how interesting the party might be, then you’re missing out on one of the biggest month-long networking opportunities of the year.

It’s the time of year when people are extra kind, and are more than willing to put in a good word for you, or perhaps introduce you to a friend of a friend who needs someone with your skill set. It’s the most wonderful time of the year indeed, especially if you’re asking people for help in your job hunt.

Make it easy for people to remember you by bringing some business cards. It doesn’t have to be fancy, a simple card with your name, email address, phone number and LinkedIn profile URL will do.

Be smart. A lot of parties mean a lot of photo opportunities. Make sure no one can question your behavior or insinuate lack of professionalism. If a picture at a party shows up on a social media site, make sure you are perceived as professional, even in a festive surrounding.

Follow up with caution
It’s December, so expect some delays in the response times of the recruiter or hiring company, but don’t be tempted to follow up immediately after the 25th or New Year’s. I’m sure the recipient of your email won’t appreciate it.

On the other hand, don’t just assume the worst if you don’t hear back from a potential employer. Your email might have been buried in their inbox, or perhaps because of the time that passed, they assumed that you already found another job. In other cases, the position you applied for has already been filled and there’s another opening but the recruiter didn’t think to call you back because they assumed you already have a new job. Spending an extra five minutes writing a follow up email won’t hurt, plus it will remind people of your application.

Now you might say, “I need a break; I’ll be busy shopping and spending time with the family so I’ll just start again next year.”

But you’ll have more competition next year! That’s when other job applicants would have been back from their vacations. That’s also the time when currently employed job applicants will begin looking for a new job after deciding that they’re not happy with their current job and that it’s their New Year’s resolution to look for another work.

So get ahead of the competition! That doesn’t mean you can’t take the time to kick back by the fire and enjoy some personal time, just carve out time to keep the job search as a priority!