You’ve probably heard this line before:
No one hires during the holidays.
It’s nonsense. While it’s true that hiring may slow down for some industries, hiring tends to happen along a fiscal year, not a calendar year. If a company’s fiscal year and calendar year are aligned, and they’ve run out of money for new headcount, they may not be hiring. However, many companies have a fiscal year that doesn’t align to the calendar year at all. In fact, several of my last companies begin their Q3 in January. So there’s lots of money in the budget (or should be!) for a new hire in December.
Before you get started, reach out to your network and find out about any hiring freezes. (I’m always talking about your network, aren’t I? That’s because it’s the most critical tool in your career toolbelt. Read more about keeping your network healthy.) If you hear about a hiring freeze, make a mental note to revisit that company after the holidays.
Now is a great time to start getting in front of recruiters and making those meaningful connections that can lead to a snagging a job over the holidays. Since so many people relax their job hunting during the holidays, competition is less, and you stand out because you appear more serious to hiring managers. Plus, many companies who are searching over the holidays want to make a decision quickly, so showing gumption and initiative now are big positives for you.
So let’s talk about a few ways to increase your odds of landing a job over the holidays.
Whatever you do, don’t stop applying to jobs. Keep up your momentum and stay focused. Log in to LinkedIn once a week (LinkedIn rewards active members and you’ll appear more frequently in searches. If you need a LinkedIn refresher, check out this blog post.) Even if you don’t hear anything until January, recruiters and hiring managers are still looking at resumes over the holiday season. There’s no reason the go lax now, even if you don’t want to start until 2019. Start dates can be negotiated; don’t miss an opportunity because it might be ideal timing for you.
On the other hand, don’t let rejection ruin your holiday spirit. Job hunting can be a raw experience for a lot of people, but don’t let that stop you. Rejection is part of the process. Keep going.
Scheduling time for interviews during the holiday season can get a little tricky, as some companies shut down for the week between Christmas and New Year, some hiring managers may take a vacation, or holiday events may clog calendars. The important thing for you is to be flexible about scheduling. If you are willing to meet during odd hours (such as after or before work) or can be available on short notice in the middle of the day, you can increase your interview potential.
Be Open to Temporary Jobs.
Many candidates, especially more senior candidates, are wary of taking temporary or temp-to-hire jobs. But be aware that many companies are using temporary positions to discover if a new hire is a culture fit. (If you missed our post on trends in hiring–including why culture fit is so important–read more about that here.) In other words, they have every intention of turning the job into a full-time position if the candidate is a good match. Hiring and onboarding are expensive and time-consuming, so companies don’t want to let go of top talent. Demonstrate an eagerness to work, a positive attitude, and work hard. Don’t think of the job as temporary; think of it as an audition for the full-time job it will likely become.
Go to Holiday Parties–and Network.
If you have a friend or colleague who is willing to invite you along to their holiday party–take it! Holiday parties are a unique opportunity to network because they are professional events where most people have their guard down just a little. It can be a comfortable way to strike up a conversation and ask questions about the work, the teams, and the company overall. You can also get a feel for how well people get along and what it might be like to work with them.
It’s not necessary to keep the conversation work related, either. But if you are having a good conversation and making an excellent connection with someone, it’s a good idea to let them know you’re looking for work. People want to be helpful, and if they know something they think will be useful to you, they’ll probably speak up.
Make sure your social profiles are spic and span–especially your LinkedIn profile. If you make a good impression at the party, you can be sure the people you spoke to are going to look you up. Make sure what they see is fresh, updated, and appropriate.
Rekindle Lapsed Connections
If you haven’t quite mastered the art of keeping your network intact, you may have some relationships that could use some TLC. The end of the year is the perfect time to reconnect. Several of my colleagues send out an old-fashioned, paper letter every year summarizing how the year went for them. They celebrate accomplishments, lament certain failures, and sketch out a brief plan for the coming year.
Of course, you don’t need to send actual letters. Sending end of the year notes over LinkedIn, Facebook, or regular email can work beautifully, too. The key is to be genuine and to personalize your note to the recipient. If they’re local, extend a sincere invitation to coffee, lunch, or dinner, or cocktails. Let them know you’re thinking of them. Be gracious and present, and try to stay in touch.