It's not unusual for me to hear job seekers say that they might as well take a month off from their job search because hiring almost comes to a standstill during the holiday season.
Are they right? Is it a time of year when your job search efforts become meaningless?
NO!!! Here are some reasons why, and how you should take advantage of this time of year…
Less competition! This "bad time of year" myth as become conventional wisdom among job seekers. Meaning that many (maybe most) others put less effort into their job search after Thanksgiving as well. If you hit the gas and put more effort into your own search, you will most likely be competing with fewer applicants for positions than you did a month earlier. Take advantage of other people's misguided decision to scale back their efforts during this time.
End-of-year deadlines. Most companies fiscal year coincides with the calendar year. Meaning their budgets, and their requisitions run out at the end of the year as well. In many companies, if a hiring manager has an approved requisition to hire a new employee, that requisition expires at the end of the year. If the position isn't filled, the hiring manager has to get it reapproved, which isn't always automatic. They have to re-justify the need, and if they've met goals for a period of time without the position filled, it may not be approved again. Most hiring managers facing that deadline will make every effort they can to hire someone before the end of the year. It's not unusual for the hiring and selection process to move much more quickly near the end of the year than it might at other times.
They want to hit the New Year running! Many companies, whether their fiscal year ends December 31st or not, view the New Year as a great time to rally the troops, and have everything in place to improve company performance for the next quarter or next year. There is a great deal of intangible pressure on managers to be prepared. They often want to get the people, resources, and projects in place to be able to run full speed ahead as the New Year begins. They, therefore, often put extra effort into getting people hired before the end of the year.
They have more time. Many times, managers find that their own staffs' productivity is down because they are afflicted by holiday-itus as well. When overall activity is somewhat diminished, it gives them an opportunity to focus on things they've been procrastinating themselves… like getting someone hired for their open position! Take advantage of the increased focus on getting back-burner tasks completed.
So… what should you do?
Crank up your networking! The holiday season is one of the best times of the year to be networking. There are more natural opportunities for it, and people are generally in a more 'giving' kind of spirit. Use it fully to your advantage! Get more help by reading: "It's a Networking Time of Year!"
Be more proactive! Applying to a job online, or sending in a resume and waiting for a call is generally not very effective in getting you an interview. Proactively finding a contact, any contact, at the company, introducing yourself, and asking for another contact or for a meeting will be much more productive every time. Get a better understanding of the process and more help by reading: "The job application process… and how to break through!"
Feel good about your efforts! As I often write… One of the toughest things, and one of the most important things you can do for your job search is to maintain a positive attitude! It makes all the difference in the world for your own well being as well as how you present yourself to others (i.e. hiring managers)! One of the best ways to maintain a positive attitude, is to know you're doing all you can to find a new job. Putting the extra effort in while most others are reducing theirs should make you feel good about yourself! You can get additional insight and help here: "The ONE best thing you can do for your job search!"
Don't buy the myth that the holiday season is a bad time to land a new job! MANY people get hired during this "bad" time. Do the things necessary to make it a very Happy New Year for you!