I try to post on this topic every year. Many job seekers assume that companies do not hire during the holidays, and they stop looking for work. That's a big mistake. It's true that many companies do not hire during this period, but others are hiring. They need to fill a position now and will not wait to mid-January. Over the years, I've had clients call me on the weeks of Christmas and New Year's Day to tell me they have received job offers.
What's the trick to looking for work between mid-November and mid-January? First, expect to see fewer job posts, but keep looking. Second, use this time to reconnect with network contacts. Share some holiday spirit and catch up on what is happening in their career. Then you can ask them if they have any advice to help you move forward with your career. Third, enjoy time with friends and family. Balance your priorities of looking for work and spending time with those who are closest to you.
Here's one final point to think about. While fewer companies hire during this period, much of your competition is not looking for work. If you're lucky, this a good time to be considered for a job that you would not get when resumes start to fly in February and March. Keep looking for work during the holiday season, and you might find a gift of a new job under your tree.
Clients will sometimes ask if there is a good time to look for work or a bad time to be conducting a job search. My answer is that someone who is unemployed or wants a better job should never stop looking. That said, there are hiring cycles when jobs are more available.
Generally speaking, hiring rises in mid-January through early summer tails off a little until Labor Day picks up strong through Thanksgiving and slows down a lot through the New Year. That’s a general model of hiring. What does it mean for the individual job seeker? It means you should work hard on your job search between now and Thanksgiving, but you should not stop looking on Black Friday. I’ve had clients hired to new jobs on the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s Day.
A good job search never ends until the job seeker gets an offer. Understand the hiring cycle and expect to see fewer ads posted during slow periods. Still, some company will always be hiring because an employee moves, retires, gets sick, or dies. Companies expand and need new workers now – whenever now is.
Be realistic in your job search, but you also need to be equally persistent and resilient. Stopping your search for any reason kills momentum, and then it is very hard to get started again. Keep looking even when the market dips around the holidays. Look hard now. This is the time to be really busy.