4 Ways You Can Take Advantage of the Holidays to Find a New Career
Published on SharpHeels: http://sharpheels.com/2016/11/holiday-job-hunting/
We often believe that hiring slows down prior to the new year. This is a myth! Hiring managers are still searching for applicants, but interviews and hiring decisions may be slower because of the difficulty in getting a team of coworkers together during the holiday season. The holidays are an excellent time to get in the pipeline for the first-quarter hiring wave when everyone returns to the office in January. Below are four tips to take advantage of this time of year to find a new job or change careers:
Do you ever feel like you need time away from your loved ones during the holidays? Keep in mind that you are not the only one who feels that way! That’s why the holidays are a great time to network. The reason networking meetings (also known as informational interviews) are so effective in helping you get a job is that companies are more likely to hire someone through referrals. When you first begin to network, your goal isn’t to ask for a job, but to build relationships. After you have connected with someone, you can ask him or her to pass along your résumé to a hiring manager or inquire about upcoming career opportunities within the company. There are many articles available that discuss effective ways to schedule a networking meeting. Below are a few quick tips to guide you.
- First, reach out to an old colleague, coworker, or friend who is working at a job, company, or industry you are interested in. If there is a chance that the person may not remember you, remind him or her of who you are and when you met last. Include your headshot in the signature of your email. Share what you have been up to (employment, education, etc.), the reason you want to meet (do not ask for a job), and invite him or her to meet you for coffee.
- During your meeting, ask questions about his or her career, company, or industry to obtain information that you cannot find on the internet.
- Toward the end of your meeting, ask if he or she would be willing to introduce you to other people with whom you want to connect. Be specific about the individuals you are interested in, e.g., “Do you know of anyone who is in x role and x company? Would you be willing to make email introductions?” You are more likely to have a new contact agree to meet with you if you are introduced by a mutual contact.
- Lastly, be sure to send a note thanking the person for his or her time, advice, and support.
You will be surprised how many people are willing and able to get together this time of year because work slows down. Take advantage of it!
Show Your Gratitude
When you are looking to change careers, you are going to want others to share job leads, provide references if you are offered a position, and advise you along the way. That’s why relationships are so important for your career success. One of the best ways to foster your relationships is through gratitude. If you are still connected with people who have helped you in the past with your career, send them a holiday card, email, or even a gift, if it is appropriate. You will probably need their help again, so these small gestures show that you care and appreciate their support. If the people who have helped you in your past realize that you are grateful, they will most likely help you again in the future.
Update Your Cover Letter, Résumé, and LinkedIn Profile
Because the trends for cover letters, résumés, and LinkedIn profiles change every year, the holidays are a great time to update them, especially if you have not applied for a position in a while. Spend some time researching the most common trends from reputable career, recruiting, and business magazines. Compare your résumé with the job descriptions you want to target and make sure you are mirroring the roles and responsibilities, industry language, and keywords. Also, research others on LinkedIn who are in similar careers, companies, and industries, and update your application materials as necessary. If you know someone with excellent editing skills, ask him or her to review your documents–you don’t want any mistakes on your application materials! Also, if you know of anyone in a job, industry, or company similar to the one you are applying for, have him or her provide feedback on your cover letter, résumé, and LinkedIn profile, as well.
Take on Side Projects
As New Year’s Eve quickly approaches, so do the resolutions. Many business owners want to reorganize their office, catch up with administrative work, or market their business. The new year is an opportunity to provide temporary support to a small business while building your portfolio. If you are highly organized, know how to use Microsoft Office, or have other applicable skills, offer to help a small business owner and see if he or she would be willing to compensate you. This is a great way to build your résumé, demonstrate your skills, and fill in any employment gaps. If you find it challenging to find paid work, then volunteer. Volunteering is a great way to build your skills, receive training in a new area, and network with a nonprofit or people who could potentially hire you.
Whatever you do, don’t slow your job search efforts this holiday season. Get yourself out there, touch up your application materials, and keep the job search going. Don’t let the holidays pass you by; take advantage of this time of year, when most people are in a generous mood and are happy to help others.