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Author:  Tess Joosse

The holiday season brings many joys and many stresses, but conventional wisdom states that the job hunt isn’t supposed to be one of them. Many job seekers think that keeping up their search this season is futile: hiring managers and recruiters are taking time off, companies are focused on wrapping up the year, and employers freeze hiring until January as a result.

While it is true that some companies put interviews and onboarding on hold to save time and money until after the holiday rush, this isn’t always the case, and looking for a new job in November and December can actually give you a leg up over the competition and provide some great networking opportunities. Here, we’ve gathered several steps you can take to make the most of the season while you search for a new role.

Other candidates have paused their searches, meaning less competition for positions.

You are not the only job hunter considering putting their search on hold until after New Year’s Day. Many candidates will indeed slow down their search during this season because of vacations, celebrations, and other commitments. Others have also heard about the supposed holiday hiring freeze and think their efforts will be futile until January. But as needs and projects expand, companies will need to fill positions regardless of the time of year. And if an employer does post an open position during this time and you’re a good fit for the role, your application will likely face less competition as other job seekers sit the season out.

Holiday events provide great networking opportunities.

Whether it be your neighborhood Turkey Trot, your spouse’s company holiday party, or your nephew’s Christmas concert, you likely will have opportunities to socialize with lots of new people as you attend seasonal events. Feel free to use these opportunities to chat with connections about their companies, industries, and if they or their networks can introduce you to any opportunities. After you mingle, be sure to follow up with your new connections to reiterate your season’s greetings and to keep the lines of communication open.

This season is a perfect time to reach out to past contacts.

Beyond any new connections you might make over the punch bowl at a party, the holiday season is a great time to circle back to past recruiters, interviewers, hiring managers, or other contacts at companies you’ve interacted with in the past. Email a “season’s greetings” message to people in your network who could connect you to new opportunities. In the message, express your warm holiday wishes, briefly update the recipient on your job search, and convey your interest in working with them in the future.

And it’s a great time to take advantage of contract opportunities.

One industry that definitely doesn’t freeze hiring during the holidays? Retail. According to the National Retail Foundation, these employers hire around half a million temporary seasonal workers each year to help with the holiday shopping rush. But temporary or contract opportunities are available in other industries, too, including in biotech and the life sciences.

The industry has experienced a wave of layoffs in the last several months as companies aim to respond to and shield themselves from uncertain economic conditions. While that’s bad news for many, there could be a silver lining for some job hunters. As full-time positions get cut, that work still needs to be done – and many companies are shifting towards hiring more contractors to accomplish these tasks. Despite economic conditions and industry trends, a contract or temporary position could lead to a permanent job. And if you are in a full-time position but have been wanting to move into a contracting role, this season could be a great time to make the jump.

The takeaway?

Don’t give up your job search during the holiday season. Between a less competitive applicant pool, abundant occasions for networking, and opportunities to snag a contracting or temporary position, you just might start the new year with a new role.

References

  1. The Holiday Hiring Freeze: Fact or Fiction?
  2. Your Holiday Job-Search Guide
  3. Why the Holidays May Be the Best Time of Year to Look for a Job
  4. 13 Holiday Networking Tips You Need To Know