Recently I’ve been hearing from many job seekers who are taking take time off from their job search during the holidays. The general consensus is that they want to take some time to de-stress, enjoy spending time with family, friends.
Taking time off from a job search? Now?
Hey. I get it. I’m very much a family kind of guy. And, despite some bah-humbug moments along the way, I love the holidays as much as anyone. I’m also, however, a realist who has well more than a decade of experience in online recruiting. And my advice to you…
Taking some time away from, or even slowing down, your job search now is the worst possible decision. Here’s why:
Over the past 10 years (even during the recession) companies large and small have increased their hiring budgets in January more than any other time of the year. In the next few weeks… more jobs will be posted, more interviews will be scheduled, and more job offers will be extended than at any other time since last January.
I know what you’re thinking: “yes, but that is in January…it’s still December.”
Since today is Christmas Eve – and many of you will no doubt engage in some retail therapy for the big After Christmas sales – I’ll use a shopping analogy:
You find a great deal on a new television but the supply is limited. To get the deal, you have to develop a clear strategy. You must be near the front of the line; the early bird. You get up at 2AM, stop for coffee, put on your warmest clothes, and wait out front two hours before the store even opens. Right?
Now, think of your job search the same way: limited quantities, clear strategy necessary, and only those who hustle (the early birds) will get the deal.
Right now – during the holiday season – is a great time to strategize:
- Build and expand your network – online and offline
- Determine which companies are on your wish list – and do the research necessary to impress
- Get your name (and face) in front of people who can help
- Research and participate in career and industry-oriented Twitter chats
- Complete your profile on LinkedIn
- Remove all potentially negative content from your Facebook profile, Tumblr and Instagram
Most important, with the knowledge that many companies will have new budgets and new attitudes starting January 2, 2014… ask for the interview NOW. Try something like this…
“I understand your hiring won’t ramp up until 2014. However, I’d like a few minutes now/this week/next week to talk about why I am the perfect fit for your company – before your rush begins.”
Then – and this is incredibly important – walk in with a “plan” that will surely impress.
Your “plan” will depend on the company and your expertise, of course. But examples include:
- An analysis of the company’s competitors (strengths and weaknesses)
- A marketing plan to extend the company’s brand (be sure to include a sure hot button: sense of community)
- A social media strategy for bringing the company online (or expanding their existing online presence)
- A plan to streamline existing production/logistics
Each of these plans does something for the hiring manager or recruiter that no one else out there is doing: it makes their lives easier. It also makes their pending decision an easy one: of course they’re going to hire the person that not only aced the interview, but came in with a ready-made plan!
Thinking about taking the holidays off? Think again.
Use this time to prepare – and execute.
About the Author: CEO and Founder of YouTern, Mark Babbitt is a serial mentor who has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Mashable, Forbes and Under30CEO.com regarding job search, career development, internships and higher education’s role in preparing emerging talent for the workforce. A keynote speaker and blogger, Mark’s contributions include Huffington Post, Bloomberg News, Switch and Shift, and Under30CEO.
Mark has been honored to be named to GenJuice’s list of “Top 100 Most Desirable Mentors,” HR Examiner’s “Top 25 Trendspotters in HR” and CareerBliss’ “Top 10 Gen Y Career Experts.” Mark is currently working on two new books: “A World Gone Social: How Business Must Adapt to Survive (AMACOM, June 2014) with Ted Coine and “The Ultimate Guide to Internships (And Making Your College Years Matter Again)” (Allworth, September 2014). Contact Mark via email or on Twitter!
Image courtesy of campus-to-career.com… thank you!