The end of the calendar year may seem like the time to take a break from your job search. If your attempts at landing a job have been futile so far, it may seem even more impossible during the bustle of the holiday season. But instead of relaxing your search during the holidays, this is the time to attack with a renewed energy.
Employers Want to Hire You Now
You do not want to wait until after the New Year to begin your job hunt again. Employers are actually up for hiring at the year’s end, whether it “feels like” people are recruiting or not. In fact, more companies are appointing positions in the last months of the year than in January – the most recent data from the US Department of Labor’s JOLTS reports show that there were 4,578,000 in December 2013 compared to 4,535,000 hires January 2014. That’s a 43,000 employment difference in a month. In addition, a new survey of recruiters by ExecuNet shows that 69% of job recruiters reported that as many or even more candidates are hired in December compared to each other month in the year.
And those are not just retail jobs for the holiday season. In fact, most retailers hire employees for seasonal positions in September or October. Companies are more likely to fill in their full-time, non-seasonal open staff positions before the New Year as a way to get “ramped up” for the next year, seeing as December can be the calm before January’s storm in the job market. Employers are also pressured to fill positions so that they can use up their budget dollars that won’t be available at the new fiscal year, so many will be hiring in the week between Christmas and the New Year. Increasing their staff can also help for tax purposes, which is why December has the easiest job market of the year and January is the most competitive.
Use the Holidays to Your Advantage
Use the warmth of the holidays as a chance to expand your network by reaching out to old friends and acquaintances online. You can connect with them on LinkedIn or Facebook and see if they know companies that are hiring, and you can touch base with recruiters you know as well. You can take advantage of the holiday spirit by sending cards to companies you have interviewed with, which will make a good impression and serve as a reminder of your availability should they have any projects they think would be a good fit for you. If you’re feeling bold, you can write a few sentences in the card about what you’ve been up to in the time you last interviewed with them (only the brief highlights). Or volunteer at a nonprofit, which tend to be busy for the holidays and provide another chance to meet with new people.
Professional-association parties can also help you to meet professional people. Some hiring managers go to holiday parties with the intention of scouting for new hires, so talk to as many people as you can. You can even use the season to break the ice by talking about the holiday shopping crowds, the how busy everyone is, etc. This common ground will make it easier than normal to establish a rapport with a hiring manager.
Your own personal odds increase when you look for a job in November and December. Many other people slack off on their job searches at that time, eliminating some of your competition. But don’t let your busy personal life slow you down. Less competition means you can seek out jobs in fields that are normally highly competitive. Apply now, because the tides will turn come early 2015, and you want to be ahead of the tsunami.