Is the holiday season, Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, a bad time to do a job search? A common misconception holds that the holiday season is a time for the job search candidate to take it easy. Feeling that no hiring will occur during this period, too many unemployed or underemployed stop the momentum of their job search, and vacation until January.
But, do companies close their doors during the holiday season? Do people work during the holiday season? Do companies continue to function? Are companies compiling their budgeting and writing their projections for the coming year? As budgeting numbers are compiled, do companies project their payroll for the coming year. Could new positions, and new hires, be included in these projections?
Although it varies by the type-of-work you are seeking, the best months for job finding are often October, November, December (yes, December), January (one of the best months for job search), February, March, April and into mid-May. Generally, hiring is at its lowest level during June, July, August and the first half of September.
However there are many exceptions to these general guidelines. Hiring for teachers and educators happens mostly between the end of one school year and the beginning of the next. Farm work depends on the seasons. So the timing often depends on the type of work you do, or wish to do, and the associated industry.
So when is the best month to start your job search? When you are unemployed, or underemployed, and need a job. Really? Yup.
Ramp up your job search momentum. Holiday parties, association meetings, and Christmas gatherings are fabulous times to network in positive and upbeat situations. The Holidays are a festive season, and employers are more open, easier to approach.
The job search process is often slow. You need to build your momentum. If you are looking for a new career connection, it takes time to network, to answer published openings (internet job sites as well as company web sites), to get your background before decision-makers who will soon be making hiring decisions for the upcoming year.
If other job search candidates foolishly slow their job search efforts during the holiday season, you have less competition. Employers often plan their hiring needs in the late fall, which means you will be in a shorter line for one of those plum new jobs, if you don’t take the Holidays off.
Do not take a vacation during your job search. To do so decreases your momentum. In these economic times, one must be doubly dedicated, motivated, and focused to maintain momentum.
What works in a job search? Is it a position posted on an internet job site? Is it a job a company will list on their own web site? Is it from networking with a former colleague, or friend, or acquaintance, or referral? Is it from a direct mail campaign to companies in your industry? Will it be from a recruiter, headhunter, or executive search consultant? Will it be from a job fair? Will it happen as the result of an informational interview? In fact, does it really matter where the lead comes from?
Businesses do not take a holiday. Companies do not shut down during the six-week “holiday season.” The stock market is open. Banks continue to deposit paychecks into accounts. Hiring managers do not stop reading new résumes that land on their desk.
Reconnect with your “Hot” network – friends, associates, former colleagues – and expand your network. Meet them face-to-face. Meet them for lunch, for coffee, throw a party. The holiday season with its once-a-year gatherings and celebrations offer a wonderful opportunity to renew old acquaintances and to develop and build new relationships. Introduce yourself to new people. Network. Network. Network.
If you are not visible, human nature allows them to quickly forget you. So make yourself visible. Be the first to introduce yourself. Expand your comfort zone.
And do not be afraid to let people know that you are seeking employment; although, do not make them uncomfortable. Of course you will use discretion and good human relations. Read, or re-read, Dale Carnegie’s fine book How to Win Friends and Influence People. The inspiration will help and motivate you!
If anything, make a gift to yourself! Pick up the pace of your job search, ramp up your job search activities. The resulting gift may be a new job.
Richard M. Knappen is the president of Chessmen Career Movers, an outplacement, career management, and consulting firm that is one of the oldest and largest locally-owned companies of its type in Southern California.