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  • Lori A. Jazvac

Carve Out Time for Productive Job Searching This Holiday Season

The holidays are known for the hustle and bustle of shopping for gifts, spending quality time with family and friends, and running last minute errands.

Yet the months between October and December are crucial times for employers to evaluate employee performance, rethink best human resources practices, and coordinate staff schedules and year-end procedures. Office files are reorganized, audits are executed, and new systems are implemented in order to optimize accuracy and efficiency.

Employers usually discuss with the management team strategic business goals and new projects. Embarking on an effective budgeting plan to make revenue-boosting and cost-saving changes before end of fiscal year is a critical focus. A considerable amount of recruitment also takes place in the last quarter of the year.

Despite the holiday cheer atmosphere, it is not uncommon for underperforming employees to get replaced with ambitious, self-motivated employees actively looking for work. The introduction of innovative products and services likely necessitate the recruitment of fresh talent that will revitalize business on different levels. End of year parties and events are also planned to collaboratively gather employees to celebrate the holidays, which offer opportunities for professional networking.

The reality: hiring during the holiday season does happen.

Opportunities abound for those who are proactive and flexible, do their research, and are determined to inject energy and focus into their job search during the holidays. There may also be less competition for millennials during the holiday season compared to the spring when most graduates complete their degrees and are out prospecting work opportunities.

The task for jobseekers during the holidays is to conduct thorough research, have a clear focus, and take action by leveraging meaningful networking opportunities in a timely fashion. While you may encounter employers delaying interviews due to being out of the office, that doesn’t mean you need to postpone your job search.

Here are some useful job search strategies that will allow you to remain proactive:

* If you are in an organization where your role is being restructured and you are seeking new opportunities, start researching other target companies, suitable roles, and industries. Keep up to date with labour market trends to understand how these developments shape your career prospects.

* Realize your unique value and offerings, which will relieve the guesswork when employers want to know what sets you apart from other candidates.

* Ensure that you have a complete resume package or portfolio of branded marketing documents ready to showcase to an employer your added value.

* Invest in personalized interview coaching that will boost your confidence and increase your readiness and preparation for rewarding roles.

* Consider engaging in professional development to keep your skills marketable.

* Attend networking events during the holidays; be focused and selective on attending events that maximize your job search. Allow career conversations to develop naturally. Don’t hesitate– set up meetings or interviews.

* Keep your eye open for lucrative opportunities. Have business cards ready to hand out. Let others know your goals and what you have to offer.

* Follow-up with recent new contacts. If you meet new professional contacts, now is a good time to not only add new people to your network, but follow-up, rather than waiting for the opportunities and leads to come to you.

* Send a thank you or greeting card as a thoughtful gesture to contacts.

* Maintain a strong social media presence, especially on LinkedIn. Many opportunities flourish at the end of the year. This is a great time to connect with colleagues and establish new networks in your field.

* Consider diverse job search avenues, including recruitment agencies or headhunters. Many recruiters are faced with the task of finding a quick replacement for an employee to cover a sudden leave or termination at year’s end. Turnaround times can mean within 24 hours to a few days to fill a position.

* Be prepared to set up interviews during the last week of December. Often, recruiters need to fill remaining positions by end of year. Self-motivated, qualified applicants are sometimes hard to find.

By taking small steps and doing your due diligence concerning your career, your job search during the holidays can be quite productive and meaningful. If you're strongly interested in securing a new role, then a recruiter or employer will appreciate your enthusiasm and flexibility to move forward quickly.

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