We recently hosted a Google Hangout with Susan P. Joyce, visiting Scholar at MIT Sloan School of Management and Editor/Publisher of Job-Hunt.org and WorkCoachCafe.com, and Dick Bolles, author of What Color is Your Parachute? on how to search for a job during the holiday season. They shared a ton of great advice, including reasons why job hunting during the holidays isn’t a lost cause. Here are seven takeaways from the chat.
Beware of your preconceptions about job seeking during the holidays
Many job seekers feel that looking for a job in December is a lost cause as hiring managers might be on vacation and organizations generally slow down. Dick warned against believing that no work is being done during this season, and asserts that now, just like any other time of year, organizations may be in a position to hire. Susan mentioned that organizations are also looking to fill positions prior to January, so applying during the holidays may in fact put job seekers in a better position.
- To do: Prepare for your search by understanding what hiring managers look for in potential candidates
Take advantage of holiday events to reconnect with old colleagues and make new contacts
There are plenty of holiday parties happening at most offices around the country. Susan reminded us that the holidays are a great excuse to get back in touch with colleagues we may have not spoken with in awhile. In that spirit, it is never a bad idea to utilize these parties as networking events and make new connections with people in your field of interest.
- To do: Ask yourself these nine questions to figure out people in your network you might want to reconnect with
Research the organizations you’d love to work for
Dick explained that this is a good time to choose, research, and approach potential employers. Even if the organization doesn’t post a job, it doesn’t mean they aren’t looking to fill a position.
Take time to inventory of what you love to do
Taking time to figure out what you love to do, skills you may not have been able to put into practice, Dick believes, will point you in the direction of organizations that would be a good fit. But it isn’t about what you’re good at. Dick says, “You don’t love stuff that you don’t do well. So it’s much more effective to say, ‘what do I love to do’ rather than ‘what am I good at?’”
- To do: Try this career tracks exercise to figure out what you like to do and organizations that might be a good fit
Make time to volunteer
If you can’t start working at an organization right away, Susan says it is a good idea to at least establish professional visibility. Dick says to make time to volunteer in spare time to hone skills at a place of interest that can be put on a resume.
Know what Google knows about you
Susan makes the point that social media plays a key role in how employers find information about you. She recommends that LinkedIn is the most important profile, followed by Google+. She says, “If you do a Google search on just about anybody’s name, LinkedIn is the first link that pops up about them.”
Send a thank you note
If you feel like there was really a connection with the organization you interviewed with, Susan says it is a good idea to pick up the phone. Dick followed by saying that people who send the thank you note get hired. He goes on to emphasize the importance of turning your focus from yourself toward the employer. Instead of saying to the organization, “Here I am,” the good job seeker will say, “Ah, here you are!”
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by Aaron McCoy