Last week was the Thanksgiving holiday for those of us residing here in the US, and right around this time each year, the impending holiday season prompts this question:
“Should I press pause on my job search… or keep looking?”
First things first:
Yes, hiring does traditionally slow down after late November as we proceed into the holiday season, picking up again in the weeks following New Year’s.
Yes – hiring does still happen during this period, for several reasons. Those include seasonal positions that require staffing up, unused hiring budgets that reset for those companies whose fiscal year begins January 1, and rush periods for companies who gear up for new product launches in the first couple months of the new year.
So forgive me, but you get no free pass this holiday season.
But don’t plod along expecting the same level of attention from every recruiter… or every company.
My recommendation to you is to keep the momentum going, but at the same time, utilize your time to your highest benefit. In other words, look at what kinds of activities and efforts are likely to bring you the most return, given the circumstances.
For me, I am all about using this time as a perfect opportunity to not only continue searching, but to get any materials in order so as to feel prepared when hiring picks back up in the coming weeks. That means, getting your resume and relevant profiles, documents, and search tools in order, really putting some time into perfecting your “personal brand”, and what that really means, working on your interviewing skills, and doing double duty at holiday events by enjoying a little fun AND networking.
Here’s how to make the best use of your job searching time during the holidays:
Take on New Side Projects
Seek out potential freelance, volunteer, or event self-directed projects that can help you boost your portfolio of work, or your portfolio of skills for the new year. Hit up your contacts on LinkedIn and social media, or peruse the opportunities on freelance boards like Gig.com, ODesk.com, Elance, and Craigslist.
Join an accountability group to keep you motivated, or a weekly newsletter that sends you regular writing prompts, design ideas, or other skills. Build a simple static online portfolio that you can use to market yourself.
Explore New Areas of Expertise & Passion
Now is a great time to learn a new skill! For example:
- Digital learning platforms like Skillshare and UDemy offer cutting-edge online courses in everything from creative to coding to cooking. Take a course on portfolio development for designers, or image retouching.
- If you’re a writer, New York-based Gotham Writers offers a fantastic list of multi-genre online writing courses and 1-day intensives (I’m currently enrolled in their creative non-fiction).
- And General Assembly offers endless options for programming, business, product management, and other areas of tech. Bonus: many of the online sites are currently offering holiday sales.
Find the right short-term course for you… and get learning!
Learn a New Software (or Update Current Tech Skills)
I personally recommend Lynda.com for comprehensive, affordable, and user-friendly training on hundreds of different software and technology platforms. Look at some of the areas that might help you add more value in your role, whether it’s understanding Google Analytics to make more informed marketing recommendations, or mastering a new area of social media to take your brand to the next level.
If you’re interested in imaging, Adobe now offers many of their most popular softwares in an affordable subscription-based online cloud platform. And Lumosity is a fun little online tool that uses games to help you boost your memory, creativity, and mental acuity.
So this holiday season, job seekers, be ready, and make yourself more competitive in the process!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Brooklyn Resume Studio!
About the Author: Dana Leavy founded Aspyre Solutions, focusing on small business development and career consulting. Her mission is to support creative and socially-conscious small businesses, through career transition coaching and business consulting for creative professionals and entrepreneurs.
Dana has helped hundreds of professionals in advertising, marketing, design and other industries execute effective career plans to find and DO the work they are passionate about. She has presented seminars on navigating careers, transition and work-life balance to several colleges and universities, and her advice has been featured on MSN Careers, Fox Business News, NewsDay, CareerBuilder.com, GlassDoor and About.com. Follow Dana on Twitter!