Yes, we’re only in September, but I am still telling all of my coaching clients to think about Thanksgiving and beyond. There are several reasons why it’s a good idea to think so many months ahead:
If you’re in job search mode, you want to be well into the interview process before Thanksgiving. It’s a myth that there is no hiring at the end of the year. In fact, there is sometimes a flurry of hiring as departments try to use up budget before the year closes. However, the people who do get hired were already well in play. No one thinks of starting something new right before the busy holiday rush. So if your job search goal is to get a position by year-end, count on 8-10 weeks (from now thru mid-November) to get introduced to companies before the window of opportunity closes. Plan your search against that mid-November deadline, not year-end.
If you’re happily employed but are serious about career planning, then start figuring out which professional associations you want to join now so you can take advantage of their holiday-themed gatherings. If you want to use this time to network across groups, remember to block out your weekday evenings for mid-November onward, so you are available for these events. Volunteering to plan these events is a great way to get more deeply involved with a particular group so if that is something you are considering, raise your hand now.
If you’re planning to foray into entrepreneurship either full-time or with a side business, you want to maximize the holiday gift season. Create gift certificates or special holiday deals. Personal service providers might promote offerings to play on the New Year Resolution mindset. Business service providers might want to focus on the rush to tie up loose ends before the year is over. These promotions, though holiday or year-end driven, need to happen now.
We have 10 weeks before Thanksgiving. It’s a good amount of time if you have a plan and pace yourself. It’s also very easy in the back-to-fall rush to let time slip by. You do not want to get to Thanksgiving and realize that some goals need to wait till 2011. Incorporate the winter holiday timeline into your career plans now.