With the winter holidays fast approaching, looking for a new job may be the last thing on many people’s minds. But if you’re in need of a new job, this isn’t the time to give up. Studies show that employers who need workers don’t stop hiring just because Christmas songs are playing everywhere and shoppers are rushing about. There are still plenty of things to do between Thanksgiving and early January to land a new job.
Want a leg up? Here are 10 ways to job hunt during the holidays:
1. Send holiday greetings.
The holidays are a natural time to reconnect with acquaintances, old co-workers and friends. Use this annual tradition to reconnect with contacts, updating them on your situation and letting them know you’re looking for a new challenge.
2. Attend holiday gatherings.
This time of year is flush with gatherings and there are plenty of opportunities to network (but please don’t hand out your business card to everyone you see at an ugly-Christmas-sweater party). Attend as many parties and celebrations as you can, and as conversations develop, mention your job hunt and ask if they know of anyone who’s hiring. Who knows? They may have a lead or keep you in mind for something when it opens.
3. Schedule one-on-one coffees and lunches.
Everyone is in better mood over the holidays, so now would be a great time to set up those long-overdue lunch dates and coffees with contacts who might be able to point you in the right direction when it comes to job openings.
4. Update your resume.
Take a hard look at your resume and make sure it has everything needed to help you land a job. Is information complete? Is there something new you can add? Have someone else look it over to get their thoughts, too. Styles change and the resume that helped you land a job five or 10 years ago may not even get you an interview today. Once your resume is ready to go, take a look at your cover letter and give it a thorough once over.
5. Update your online profiles.
Use any lulls at work (if you currently have a job) to update and polish your LinkedIn profile. Make sure your employment and education information is updated and add in any relevant awards. Don’t have a LinkedIn profile? Here’s how to create one. If you have a Twitter or Facebook account, give those a look over, too, and make sure they project a professional image.
6. Expand your virtual network.
Now that your LinkedIn profile is spiffed up, see who else you can connect with. The more connections you have, the more opportunities you have, and the more likely you’ll hear of job openings.
Offer freelance services to help a company while employees are out on vacation. It helps the business out at a potentially busy time and it may also get your foot in the door.
Head online to check out job listings, visiting not only traditional job boards, but also companies or organizations where you would like to work. Find out if there’s a specialized e-newsletter advertising openings for your profession. Don’t just focus on the job openings, but try to learn as much as you can about potential employers. That information will help you as you craft your cover letter and go on interviews.
9. Be flexible.
Some employers are anxious to have someone start right at the beginning of the new year, so keep an open mind and be willing to do what it takes to land that job.
10. Keep at it.
A lot of people drop out of the job market during the holidays, but employers are still hiring. A smaller pool of prospective workers can work to your advantage, so stay active with your job hunt activities and responding to ads.
If you keep your search going strong through the holiday season, there’s a good chance you’ll have a new gig in the new year.