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Truths & Tips About Holiday Job Hunting

Woman finds job during the holidays

One of the biggest misconceptions job seekers have is that the job market dries up between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. They believe managers are too preoccupied with vacations and year-end budgets to be bothered hiring new staff. They also believe that what few jobs are available simply aren’t very good. However, these widely held beliefs couldn’t be further from the truth.

Taking seasonal work

To get to the truth, we first we need distinguish between finding a “holiday job” and searching for a regular job during the holidays. Typically, “holiday jobs” are seasonal temporary jobs that require shift work. Companies that see a surge in business during the holidays – such as retailers, call centres, and restaurants to name a few – will start bringing on extra help as early as October. Most of these employers will hire en masse by utilizing staffing agencies, online application processes, and group interviews. Despite these group selection tactics, it’s still a good idea to make a personal impression by delivering your resume in person if you have the chance.

Seasonal work is great for supplementing your income, making money while you’re in school, or trying to bolster your resume. Just be sure that it’s worth your while. Don’t accept a seasonal job with a long, expensive commute. The easier it is to get to your job, the more available you’ll be to work extra shifts – and make extra money.

Searching for full-time work during the holidays

If seasonal work isn’t for you, not to worry. There are also plenty of reasons to pursue regular, full-time employment during the holidays. Many people put the brakes on their job search at this time of year – and that’s exactly why you shouldn’t. With the competition going into hibernation, now’s the time to shine. The truth is that many companies’ fiscal years follow the regular calendar year, and that makes for a lot of managers who look to spend what’s left of their budgets on new hires who can start early in the New Year – even as early as January 2. In fact, scrambling managers are why staffing agencies see a spike in requests during the fall.

Too many people are also under the impression that because the holidays are a social time, hiring is at the bottom of everyone’s list, far below gift shopping, eggnog, fruitcake, and figgy pudding. But it’s the holidays’ social air that can make it the perfect time to look for your dream job. Festive get-togethers make for wonderful networking opportunities, and since people are generally in a friendlier than usual mood, they’re more approachable and open to meeting new people. You can even send season’s greetings cards to potential employers if you have the right contact info. Just remember to communicate your job situation subtly when leveraging all this holiday cheer. The last thing you want is to come off as a Scrooge-like opportunist.

Putting a little love in your heart

Remember: it’s the holidays, so enjoy yourself. While it’s important to take the time to perfect your resume and practice your interviewing skills (and if you’re with an agency, they should have resources available to help you with both), it’s also important to spend time with family and friends. Job search, network, and even take on freelance assignments to cover vacationers and get your foot in the door. But don’t deprive yourself. Searching for a job can be a full-time job in itself, which is all the more reason to strike the perfect work-life balance – especially during the most wonderful time of the year.

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