Most people are tempted to take a job search hiatus over the holidays. If you’ve been searching for a while, you may think it’s time for a break. If you’re just getting started, you may believe the holidays are not the right time. Regardless of your reason, I’d urge you to reconsider.
Are companies actually hiring right now?
Yes! Many companies are hoping to wrap up their hiring processes before the end of the year. As a result, they are busy reviewing applications and interviewing. It’s also a good idea to get your applications submitted now, so you’re not part of the massive application drop that typically happens in January. As with most things in life, the effort you put in now will manifest itself in the new year.
Job search fatigue is a real thing and it’s ok to take a break from the application grind. That being said, there are still a lot of ways to keep your job search top of mind and make progress. Here are five things you can do over the holidays to maintain job search momentum.
1. Tell people about your search
Holiday parties may look different this year, but you can still share your job search news during a Zoom get together! Tell family, friends, and new acquaintances that you’re conducting a job search. Talking about your search has multiple benefits. First, it gives you experience explaining what you’re looking for which is excellent interview practice. Second, it often results in a helpful tip, the name of a company to check out, or at the bare minimum a promise to keep you in mind if they hear of anything.
2. Use the holiday as a conversation starter with key contacts
Now is the perfect time to reach out and wish someone a happy holiday season. If you haven’t already lined up 3-5 professional references, contact former managers and colleagues to fill them in on your search and ask if they’ll serve as a reference for you. If you’re transitioning to a new field, schedule informational interviews (aka virtual coffee) to learn more about your new path.
3. Brush up on technical skills
Find the most common skills required for your position by reading multiple job descriptions. Then, get to work on any gaps! You may know how to use basic Excel, but maybe you could use a tutorial on how to create a pivot table to analyze data. Or, perhaps you used HTML in a former position but need to refresh your memory on certain aspects. It would also be a good time to familiarize yourself with collaboration tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Slack. Remote work is changing the way colleagues communicate, so it’s important to have a rough idea of what’s out there.
4. Give yourself a LinkedIn check-up
In addition to updating your resume or drafting cover letters, take this time to refresh your LinkedIn profile. Have you been putting off writing the About section or adding your most recent position? Do you have at least 10 relevant skills in your Skills section? If your profile is complete, ask people to write a recommendation or endorse you for skills. I’d also suggest setting up a job alert, looking up alumni in your field, and seeing if any of your connections work for companies you’re applying to.
5. Put your interview skills to the test
Make sure you’re ready for all those interviews you’re going to get in the new year (the power of positive thinking, right?!). It’s important to practice your responses out loud and also be aware of any nonverbal behavior that might be distracting to an interviewer. Since most interviews are virtual these days, scheduling a mock interview with a professional will also help you get comfortable talking into your webcam and get feedback on your lighting/video background.
The Bottom Line
Whatever you do this holiday season, the bottom line is just keep going! If you totally check out for the next month, you’re going to lose steam and it’ll be that much harder to jump back in. Job searches take time and can be frustrating, but consistent effort is sure to pay off in the long run.