The holiday season is here and contrary to whatever you might have been told, it's the best time for finding a great job. In the past, there has been an assumption that from Thanksgiving until New Year's day, employers aren't going to be interested in hiring new employees and that applying for jobs during this period is a waste of time at best and bad manners at worst.
It's such a widely held belief that it was even tackled in a recent “Ask Alice” column over at CNN Money. According to the column, the holidays are the best time to find a job and furthermore, it's not at all uncommon for companies to hire new employees during this time of year, especially during the week between Christmas and New Year's day.
In the sales world, the holidays are typically an extremely busy time. Management teams are overwhelmed dealing with the traditional high volume of sales and handling other staffing issues. Still, that doesn't mean that they aren't able to take the time to hire more staff. In fact, many companies find that during the holidays is when they need more staff. Here are several reasons why this is the best time to look for a job:
Employers want to be prepared for the new year. Even if a company isn't planning on taking on any new staff members during the holiday season, they may use the time to get things in order for the new year. This means that the application and interview process may be happening now with plans to have new staff members ready to start after the first of the year. By submitting a resume now, job seekers are able to get a head start on January hiring.
Budgets change at the end of the year. Many companies have a “use it or lose it” policy when it comes to departmental budgets. If they have a surplus, most managers would rather go ahead and hire more staff rather than lose the money. For example, if a department needed one or two more employees, they may hold off hiring due to budget worries – but, closer to the end of the year, they can use whatever fund they have left to afford more help.
Seasonal sales jobs can lead to full-time employment. The holidays are a great time to find seasonal sales jobs. Although these jobs require a high degree of flexibility and the willingness to work wherever you're needed, these seasonal jobs can lead to a full-time employment offer. If you decide to accept a seasonal position, use your time to “try out” the job to see if it's right for you and do the best work you can, realizing that you're auditioning for the job as well.
If you're looking for a job, don't stop trying just because of the holiday season. Rather than being a time to take a break, you can take advantage of some of the best opportunities to work on your job hunting skills. Here are a few examples:
Send cards to companies you've applied or interviewed with. One of the great things about this time of year is that it's customary to send cards expressing holiday wishes. To score a lot of points with employers, try sending out holiday cards to companies you've recently interviewed with. Of course, it's good manners to select a card that is simple, attractive and is holiday non-specific. You wouldn't want to assume that everyone celebrates Christmas when there are so many holidays at this time of year. Instead, select a card that is simple and wishes the recipient a joyful holiday. Not only is it a professional thing to do, it's also a great way to remind them of who you are and why you're someone they would want on their team. It's also a good idea to send cards to the people who helped you in your job search or networking contacts. Again, it's good manners, makes people think more positively about you and it will make them feel good about having helped you.
Volunteer with local agencies. Although I am a strong believer in volunteering all year long, the holidays are a great time to get involved. Because it's a time when many agencies are doing the bulk of their work, there are usually lots of openings and ways to be a part of it. From working at a homeless shelter to working with animals, there is always something for every interest. When you volunteer, you get more than just good feelings, you also make contacts that can help you in your job search.
Attend holiday parties. Parties are a great way to meet new people and re-connect with professionals you already know. This time of year, almost every organization and group has a party. Put on your nice clothes and get ready to mingle! If you are worried about handling well-intentioned (you hope) questions about your employment status, create answers that put a positive spin on things before you go. For example, if someone mentions that you lost your job or were laid off, simply say, “Yes, it's been hard but I'm so excited about having a new opportunity to challenge myself somewhere else.” The main thing is to stay positive and not take anything personal.
The holiday season is the time for peace and joy. Use that spirit of good will to fuel your job search and hopefully, your New Year's resolution will be to get a promotion rather than to find a job.
Have you had any luck finding jobs during the holidays? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
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