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How to Job Search During the Holidays

With the holidays now in full swing, there's a tendency to want to relax and put your job search activities on the back burner. Many job seekers think that employers have stopped any hiring they might be considering and will ramp up in the New Year. If you buy into that, you're missing 6-8 valuable weeks of search time. I recently helped a job seeker with interviewing preparation. She beat out 20 other applicants and got her permanent position right before Thanksgiving. She even got paid for the holiday time off even though she'd only been there for a week. The reality is employers seek candidates year round and even extend offers during this time. Karen Lewis, Careers in the Key of Life, agrees. She says, "don't approach the job search with the attitude that it's the holiday season and therefore, opportunities will be limited. Life, and work, goes on 365 days a year. Assume that people leave their jobs every day, openings are created everyday, so forge ahead. Planned Happenstance occurs sometimes when you least expect it!

In collaboration with some other job search professionals, I came up with a few tips for job seeking during the holidays. We all agreed that connecting with people is the most important thing you can do in the job search and especially during the holidays. Your job search activities should include those that connect you to hiring managers and those who can give you good leads. You also need to be prepared to make your pitch and present your qualifications should the opportunity arise. The tips below will help you in important ways as you continue or begin a job search during the holidays.

Holiday Job Search Tip #1: Connect With As Many People As Possible The holiday season is the perfect time to connect with people and make new contacts. Built into the holidays are numerous occasions for reaching out. You can send greeting cards and holiday updates, attend parties and events, and volunteer with churches or community organizations.

Sally Gelardin, job search expert, suggests sending out entertaining, not boring, holiday e-cards to all of your contacts. They're conversation starters. People appreciate the diversion of well-written personable cards and are more likely to respond to an electronic card. To make a more memorable impression, Sally further suggests writing something humorous on the card such as, "I don't usually have the time to send out personalized holiday cards, but since I am in the midst of a job hunt, I have the good fortune this year to have a bit more time on my hands...." or "Since I have time and like to keep up my skills, I'm volunteering with Santa this year, handing out free resume reviews." You can fill in the blanks as appropriate.

It's also important to attend as many parties and holiday events as possible. These are great opportunities to network and learn of new opportunities. To make the most of the networking opportunities, career coach, Linda Artel, suggests having your 30-second introduction ready and use it whenever it seems appropriate. She advises that you get names and cards when you can. If requested, send your resume before the holidays and follow up shortly after New Year's. This is a great way to get into the hiring manager's pipeline. Career Advisor, Megan Pittsley encourages job seekers attend Chambers of Commerce mixers, professional association meetings, alumni gatherings, and singles groups, to name a few. Those are great opportunities to network where people are out and about and make connections while others tend to take the holidays off!

Shahrzad Arasteh, Certified Professional Resume Writer, offers an additional perspective. She says, "Attend those holiday parties and gatherings! Engaging in meaningful social interactions is good for your physical and psychological health. Not only does attending holiday gatherings provide the opportunity for you to build and strengthen relationships and your network, but you might learn of potential job opportunities and receive advice/information that will be helpful to you in your job search. Allowing the conversation to flow naturally, you might casually and very briefly let others know what you are looking for, or what skills you wish to use in your next opportunity. Keep in mind that the gathering is a social one, not a business networking event, but do appropriately share a brief comment or two about your current career goals. You never know if one of your conversation partners will end up being the one to give you advice (or even a job offer) leading to your next success!"

Holiday Job Search Tip #2: Stick To Your Job Search Plan If you've been in job search mode for a couple months, by now you might be feeling a little discouraged because you haven't seen your desired result- a job. It's at this time that you really want to power through and continue your job search. Since, many other job seekers will be taking a break during the holidays, you'll stay ahead of the competition. It's important to stick to your plan so you can keep your momentum. If you think your job search plan and approaches could use some help, go get that help. I work with job seekers all the time and after talking with them for a few minutes I can pinpoint right where they need to focus more attention. You can do that on your own, too. A book I recommend is Get Hired Now! It's a quick read and will definitely get your job search on track. I also created a special report in which I outline three important factors for success in your job search. If you'd like a copy of the special report, click this link 3 Secrets to Creating Luck in Your Job Search.

Holiday Job Search Tip #3: Polish Your Presentation As you continue your job search during the holidays, you'll be meeting new people and adding them to your network. The people you've already met might also be taking the time to check into your qualifications. You need to make sure you're presenting yourself well in all mediums. Update and polish your resume to make sure it accurately and effectively reflects your relevant qualifications and accomplishments. You've probably heard that hiring managers use online sources more and more to get an impression of candidates. If you have profiles on linkedin, facebook or any other social media tool, make sure your profile is updated and professional looking. If you're not confident about your interviewing, practice and hone your presentation skills. Enlist the help of a friend or family member. The toughest interview I ever had was a mock interview my sister gave me years ago. Since then, I've gotten every job I've interviewed for. Be vigilant about making the most positive impression you can.

Holiday Job Search Tip #4: Volunteer And Help Others The holiday season is a time of year when many of us are asked to donate our time to help others. However, not only is volunteering good for society, according to job search expert, Judi Garcia, volunteering is a good way to increase your self-esteem and confidence while in the job search. She advises job seekers consider volunteering in their local communities because helping others is time well spent, while also networking with community and other professionals. Also, you never know when a job idea or opportunity can show up. Volunteering in the community can lead to a mentoring or leadership role as a board member, and looks good on a resume.

To your success!
Markell

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Markell R. Steele, Career Counselor and founder of Futures in Motion, Inc., is a national certified counselor, distance credentialed counselor, speaker, and author of Fast Track Your Career: Three Steps for Finding Work You Love.

"I help frustrated job seekers find career direction, so they can get the job they want in less time with less stress."
Follow Markell on twitter to get daily job search and career transition tips- http://twitter.com/futuresinmotion

Find more career and job search articles at http://www.futures-in-motion.com/article_archive.php. Contact Markell at http://www.futures-in-motion.com/contact_us.php.

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