In the midst of holiday shopping, end-of-year parties, and family obligations most job seekers put a hold on their efforts. They think that there’s too much other stuff going on to think about their job and that no company is going to hire them now, anyway. But, if you’ve been looking for a new job, now is actually the ideal time to ramp up your job search for the New Year.
Why the End of the Year is a Great Time for Job Seekers
While it’s true that few companies will hire any new employees in December, that doesn’t mean that it’s a wasted month as a job seeker. In fact, it’s actually the perfect opportunity to position yourself ahead of your peers.
On average, every corporate job opening attracts 250 resumes. That’s a lot of competition considering only four to six individuals will even make it to the interview stage. The good news is that during the holidays, that number should drop drastically considering that most job seekers have even less time during the holidays to commit to their job hunt. So, if you can stick out your job search for the New Year in December, you can get ahead of your competition and increase your odds of having your resume viewed.
Also read: This is Why the Holidays are a FANTASTIC Time to Land a New Job — 3 Strategies to Get You There
More Opportunities for Networking
The holidays are also an exceptional time for networking. Almost every company hosts a holiday party or some type of event. And many executives and managers are much more willing to take time away from the office for meet-ups at the end of the year. This means there are many networking opportunities for you to take advantage of during the holiday season to make more personal connections.
Prepare for January 1st
Most companies looking to hire new people at the start of the year begin their job search in December. This means that the holidays are a big time for interviewing, reviewing resumes, and discussing their organization’s pain points. The problem is that, in December, many companies don’t get the candidates they need and want.
For example, in December 2017, 54% of small business owners reported few or no qualified applicants for their open positions. When considering those trying to hire only, the number rose to 92%. The more preparation you can do in the job front during December, the better prepared you’ll be to take advantage of the higher budgets and new job opportunities in the New Year.
Ways to Ramp Up Your Job Search for the New Year
So, how do you make sure that you don’t miss a single opportunity when it comes to your job search for the New Year? You remember that the average length of the job interview process in the U.S. is 23.8 days and you ramp up your search now.
1. Prepare Your Resume, Cover Letter, and LinkedIn Profile
While the holidays might be a busy time with friends and family visiting, there’s also still a lot of downtime from work that you can use to focus on your career advancement strategy. If you haven’t already, use your holiday hours to work on building up your resume, updating your cover letter, and enhancing your LinkedIn profile. It’s these three elements that will have the greatest impact on your job search for the New Year.
- Resume: When it comes to your resume, make sure it helps you stand out in a positive way. Define your core strengths, identify your soft skills, which 77% of executives believe are vitally important, and outline your personal brand.
- Cover Letter: If you’ve already identified the companies you want to work for or the specific positions that you’ll be applying to it’s time to get your cover letter up-to-date and personalized. Remember, never be generic but instead do your research and showcase why you, specifically, are ideal for the job.
- LinkedIn: 20,000 U.S. companies use LinkedIn to recruit with more than 15 million active jobs on the platform at any given time. You need to set up your LinkedIn profile appropriately and then leverage it for your job search in the New Year.
2. Attend Multiple Networking Events
As we said earlier, the holidays are a great time for networking. Whether you’re going out of town to visit family or they’re coming to visit you, you can take advantage of the many new people surrounding you to make connections and gain referrals.
Also, remember that you’re not the only one with visitors coming into town. Take advantage of meet-up events, parties, and community activities where you can meet new people, make positive impressions, and deepen your relationships. Your goal should be to attend at least 4-5 holidays networking events in December.
3. Take Advantage of Volunteer Opportunities
82% of interviewers prefer applicants with volunteer experience, and 92% say volunteer activities build leadership skills. The good news is that there are a ton of coat drives, toy drives, food drives, and other volunteer opportunities available during the holidays. Don’t be afraid to work with a volunteer organization and add the work to your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile. Not only will this look good, but it will give you something more to talk about during your interview.
4. Send Personal Notes
Everyone sends out cards during the holiday season, and you can leverage this concept for your job search for the New Year. Sending holiday cards to friends and colleagues is a personal and unique way to reconnect and let them know you’re searching for a job. It’s also a great way to say thank you for interviews and for help.
Other Ideas for Ramping Up Your Job Search for the New Year
- Practice your elevator pitch and interviewing skills with friends and family who are visiting for the holidays. They can help give you feedback and provide you with unique viewpoints.
- Use some of your time off to build up one of the career skills that you’re looking to master. Sites such as Envato Tuts+, edX, and Ivy Exec offer courses and help in developing the skills you want.
- Listen to more business podcasts while you’re stuck in holiday traffic to increase your knowledge and boost your motivation.
- Take a look back at everything you’ve achieved over the last 365 days and log your accomplishments. You can use this document for your performance review as well as any interviews.
January is prime hiring season, but don’t wait until the New Year to start your job search. Instead, ramp up your job search for the New Year now and you’ll be in a much better position for success.