Planning to hold off on job searching until January? Think employers don’t hire during the holiday months? You’re mistaken if you believe companies quit looking for talent this time of year.
While plenty of people start to back off on job searching in November and December, you can benefit from continuing to put time and effort into your hunt for a great opportunity. Consider these five significant reasons you’ll miss out (big time) if you freeze your job search during the holidays:
1. Employers Are (Still!) Hiring
Just like any other part of the business, hiring still goes on late in the year. Operations, mergers, production, orders, service, buyouts, and projects are always running in most companies.
In fact, some industries may even have more significant needs during the holiday season, as major transactions and deals are often negotiated during what others might consider downtime.
Back in my IT management and recruiting days, we focused more on January projects and planning for resource needs than holiday vacations.
If your expertise includes acquisitions, sales, manufacturing oversight, or technology automation, you could be in particularly high demand as a skilled leader or executive (even more so at this time of year).
2. Budget Requirements Must Be Met
Both end-of-year budgets and new-year headcount forecasting can drive hiring during the holiday season.
For example, a company may have just received approval to hire a new Director of IT in January. When will they most likely start the hiring cycle? December.
The typical hiring cycle for an executive can take weeks, if not months. Employers anticipating the need for new sales leaders, for example, may need to initiate their hiring process by the end of the year to get a new hire onboarded by February.
Therefore, sending your newly polished leadership resume out to companies of interest to you can pay off quickly, especially if they’re in a hiring cycle and you’re the most qualified –and interested – applicant.
3. Everyone Else Is Lying Low
Less competition from other candidates means less resumes clogging employer inboxes and Applicant Tracking Systems—and more attention for you. Of course, you’ll want to focus on both applying and diligently following up with employers during this time.
While others are focused on the season, you can also get ahead of the hiring game by setting a Google alert for companies in your industry. Signing a new contract, closing on an acquisition, opening a division, or releasing a new product are items to watch out for, as these activities can translate into a need for more employees.
Research potential contacts inside target employers, and send a letter of inquiry that describes your ROI based on their recent activity. Keep your LinkedIn Profile ready for the once-over from employers as well.
You may find that a short e-mail or call can demonstrate interest and prompt them to bring you in for a meeting (or a hiring decision!).
4. Opportunities To Network Are Abundant
Think about it: what other time of the year will you walk into a room full of company executives, partners, and other decision-makers?
You can, of course, research companies whose managers you hope to talk with, and mention industry happenings of shared interest during an event. (You already know that networking isn’t asking for a job, but offering value to others, while building awareness of your value proposition.)
Although you shouldn’t monopolize a holiday gathering by talking shop, you can offer to meet for coffee or after-work activities—perhaps looking ahead to other professional events, industry conferences, or seminars during which you can connect. (See Party Your Way to a New Job: Holiday Networking for some great ideas.)
The holiday season also makes it easier to get back in contact with former colleagues. You can send a brief message through LinkedIn or an e-mail, touching base and perhaps scheduling a time to meet for lunch. These conversations can turn up valuable intelligence on happenings in your industry.
5. Recruiters Are Staying Alert For Jobs And Candidates Alike
Like other businesses that don’t take a holiday, recruiters are particularly watchful for end-of-year hiring needs from their clients (employers).
What does this mean for you? If you’ve put off contacting a recruiter until now, don’t wait until they’re flooded with calls and inquiries during January.
Reach out with a short note on LinkedIn, send an e-mail with your resume, or give them a call to find out if their clients are in need of your talent. Don’t forget to make a compelling case for the value-add you offer as a new leader or executive, and be sure to stay on their radar for new opportunities.
In short, the holidays can be a perfect time to accelerate your job search, rather than putting the freeze on your activities.
Get a jump on the competition – and stay top-of-mind at your target employers – by ramping up your search during the end-of-year holiday season instead of waiting it out.
This post was originally published at an earlier date.
About the author
Laura Smith-Proulx, Executive Director of An Expert Resume, is a resume industry leader, 13-time global TORI resume award winner, LinkedIn expert, author, personal brand strategist, and former recruiter with 20+ years of experience winning choice jobs for executives and rising leaders.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here.
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