Question: when have crowds ever made any situation better? When was the last time you were crushed in a sea of people, trying to make some kind of forward motion to your goal, and thought to yourself, “This is the best!”
And yet…this is exactly the approach most jobseekers take when trying to find a new role. They fall for the siren song of “activity” as being an indicator of greater odds of success, and try to focus the bulk of their job search efforts during boom periods like January/February and September/October instead of hiring “dead zones” like December.
Wrong, wrong, wrong!
Look, as a uniquely experienced professional who’s bringing something special to the table, you should not care AT ALL about what most jobseekers are doing. What they’re doing does not matter. The outcome you’re after here is 1 “Yes”, 1 offer that checks all of your fulfillment criteria- title, compensation, etc. Well, you can get that outcome at any point in the year. The only difference is that you’ll face significantly greater “noise” in the marketplace during boom periods because you’re now in competition with a greater number of candidates. And that’s a big problem, because VISIBILITY contributes way more to your success than the total NUMBER of opportunities available. And that’s why making some bold holiday job search moves during the low-competition holiday periods can really help you.
Also read: Your Guide to Taking the Pain out of 3 Holiday Networking Scenarios | Networking for Success Series
Here are 3 Proven Holiday Job Search Strategies to Consider:
Holiday Job Search Strategy #1: Recruiter and Hiring Manager Outreach
A big part of the holiday hiring slowdown myth involves the idea that people in hiring will put off a search until the New Year for budget reasons, or to avoid the hassle of onboarding during this busy time. But that’s just not true. In fact, many hiring managers say that they feel INCREASED pressure to fill slots before the end of the year! Take advantage of that through a campaign designed to quickly get on their radar:
-Research on LinkedIn to develop a shortlist of high-level recruiters at target companies, as well as external recruiters who specialize in placing candidates with your background.
-Send each of them a quick connection message explaining why you’re interested in initiating dialogue. If you share a mutual connection on LinkedIn, or share a group affiliation, or if you liked a recent post they shared, MENTION IT in the connection message: it can have a huge impact on response rates.
-Follow up with everyone who connects with you, with the goal of setting up a quick intro call and learning more about their situation and how you can help.
Important: your LinkedIn profile needs to be up-to-date and EFFECTIVE in terms of branding and positioning you in order for this approach to work. This way, a hiring manager who is sweating over an open position will receive a message from you, quickly pull up your profile, get super-excited by what they see, and “jump you” to the front of the line in terms of a face-to-face. This happens all the time!
Holiday Job Search Strategy #2: Senior Executive Bridge Building
An alternate route to a job offer comes through pursuing relationships with people who can either CREATE a role for you, or are at most 1 step away from someone who can. Think CEOs, potential bosses, and the heads of closely aligned functions. The holidays are a fantastic time to reach out to them, because for the first time all year the persistent activity level has dropped down a bit. If you’ve previously reached out to someone and didn’t receive a reply, now is the time to send a quick follow-up to wish them happy holidays and revisit the idea. Similar to the strategy above, I’d recommend using LinkedIn instead of email as the messaging venue, because your profile can serve as your credibility builder. Email has no such advantage.
Also read: The New Rules of the Job Search
Holiday Job Search Strategy #3: Value-Added Asset Building
The Holidays are a great time to create and promote materials which establish your expertise, and enable you to communicate a unique POV. Examples include:
-Publishing a post on LinkedIn (seen by your entire network, and automatically attached to your profile to build credibility in the long-term).
-Creating a simple 2-page “tear sheet” that breaks down the current situation in your industry, and proceeds to highlight the 3-4 most forward-thinking changes you make happen to navigate it. This type of document can work wonders in getting traction with C-suite executives.
-Getting into the habit of a regular status update posting schedule on LinkedIn. Regular engagement is a HUGE value add in the eyes of employers. It’s also a powerful defense against ageism, so if you’re concerned with that you should pay particular attention to this one.