The Hidden Value of Job Hunting During the Holidays

It’s tough looking for a job in December. I’ve been there, and I know it’s not fun being in a job search during the holidays.

Right now, I personally know at least three dozen people who are between jobs. Though they’ve remained positive during these stressful times, it’s very easy to become overwhelmed with fear and negativity. Few employers are hiring in December. The economy is still bad and who knows what the future holds. On top of that, personal finances are likely strained during this season of materialism and consumerism.

On the other side of the coin, though, the holiday season can actually be a deeply meaningful time for job hunting. Done rightly, December can be a time of renewal and rejuvenation as you anticipate all the good things awaiting you in the coming new year.

Here’s my advice to anyone feeling trapped in a holiday job search:

  1. Spend quality time with family and friends. A stressful career transition can refocus you on life’s true priorities—family and friends. Surround yourself with people who truly care about you and your well-being. Let them know how important they are to you.
  2. Reconnect with your existing network. Update your professional contacts on the progress (or lack of) you are making. Remind them what you’re looking for. Suggest simple ways they can help. Look for ways to express gratitude for things they have already done.
  3. Make new friends. The holidays are a good time to network and meet new people at parties, religious services or other social events.
  4. Rethink your strategy. From time to time, we all need to think about what we’re doing and why. For me, nothing works quite like sitting alone in a coffee shop. I can clear the clutter in my mind, filter out distractions and experience a surge of creativity. The change of venue gives me a fresh perspective.
  5. Revise your marketing materials. Look at your resume, cover letter, business cards and LinkedIn profile. Revise them as necessary to present yourself in a consistent, positive and differentiated way.
  6. Expand your digital footprint. Be findable when someone Googles your name. For starters, make sure you have a complete Google Profile. Update your LinkedIn information and use this as a networking tool. Also, consider using Facebook as a personal branding tool. I don’t understand why someone looking for a job would set their Facebook privacy settings too high. You actually want a potential employer to see you as a real person. In my opinion, those who are authentic, transparent and visible will have a distinct advantage over those who are secretive, guarded and overly protective.
  7. Do nothing. Everyone needs a little down time, so don’t feel guilty when you stop to catch your breath. Here’s an idea:  Spend an afternoon sitting on the couch watching the classic movie It’s a Wonderful Life. You’ll be more purposeful, focused and energetic when you get back in the game.

Happy holidays! And best wishes for the New Year!

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