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Job Hunting During the Holidays: Advice From a Recruiter

Holidays are a great time to rest, relax, and take a break from work... with a caveat for job seekers.

We're a staffing firm and we don’t recommend shutting down your efforts completely.

The holidays, for many recruiters, are a time to wrap up loose ends and put in the hours needed to hit year-end recruitment targets. If a client is in the middle of a growth cycle the holiday season can become an interruption, unless we stay on target and continue sourcing talent to meet their needs. The last thing an expanding company wants is to lose momentum at the start of the year.

Which is also what makes it a great time for job seekers to start applying for those last-minute vacancies.

If you spot a job advertisement that appeals to you, don’t wait until after the holidays to apply for it. Go ahead and submit your application. Job hunting over the holidays could give you the skills, experience, and competitive edge you need to seize the next opportunity that comes your way.

Why should you carry on job hunting through the holidays?

We don’t stop working over the holidays

Most recruiting firms, including PTP, work through the holiday season. Even when we’re not making phone calls or conducting interviews, we are actively reviewing resumes and strategizing for the coming year. Oftentimes, our clients are also under pressure to fill last-minute vacancies for budgetary reasons or because it’s harder to find candidates at this time of year.

Additionally, recruiters tend to receive fewer emails during this period because everybody is on holiday. This means that if you were to reach out to a recruiter, there is a good chance of your email being picked up. You may not necessarily get a response right away but your communication will be noticed.

Maintain your momentum

It’s easy to get lose track of priorities around the holidays. Everyone’s taking a break and the slow pace of the world around you can lull you into a feeling of apathy. While rest is important, you also want to stay fresh and make sure not to lose your momentum during this period. As recruiters, we often see candidates who lose focus during the holidays and eventually drop off our radar because they struggle to pick up where they left off, especially with a stress-inducing activity like job hunting.

If you are currently employed but looking for new opportunities, this is the best time to put the work in to make that happen. Take a little time off but get back to the routine you’ve already established at work into your search to channel your energy into the job hunt.

Rekindle your network

The holidays are a great excuse to boost your networking. Send out season’s greetings to old classmates, former colleagues, and maybe even a few recruiters you’ve been corresponding with. Respect the occasion and don’t begin the conversation by asking about work opportunities but this is the season to reconnect, after all. Maybe reviving an old relationship could be the key to making some new ones.

Get ahead of your competition

Ironically, since recruitment does not stop during this week, you'll often find that the holidays can be a great time for finding work. Many job seekers take a break during the holidays, which means that some vacancies go unnoticed till the new year. The reality is that it’s a numbers game sometimes. You can leverage this lack of competition by applying for jobs that would otherwise attract large numbers of applicants and have a much better shot of getting noticed before the year begins.

What should you be doing?

Explore short-term and temporary gigs

Part-time employees are always in high demand during seasonal holidays. If you’re searching for a job but can’t find anything long-term, look for a short-term gig at an organization that interests you or in an industry that could add value to your work experience. Companies that hire seasonally or offer short-term contracts may decide to retain some of the new employees permanently, once the holidays are over.

Try volunteering

Volunteering is a great way to network, gain useful work experience, pick up a few new skills, and give back to your community. The holidays are an especially good time if you are looking for volunteering opportunities.

Research volunteering opportunities in your neighborhood or city. Try and pick jobs where you get a chance to exercise your primary skills. If there are no such openings, then go for one that you feel committed to. Either way, you get a chance to gather experience and acquire skills.

Equally importantly, it shows a potential employer or recruiter that you chose to stay active and engaged during your free days and that you gave back to the community when you could.

Work on your skills

Upskilling has become an essential part of the zeitgeist. In today’s gig economy, training yourself on multiple useful and complementary skills is probably the best way to attract an employer’s eye. And the proliferation of study materials, certifications, courses, and taught programs available online to help you upskill has made it easier than ever to acquire a new tool for your toolbox. Use your time off from work to acquire a few new skills and add to the value of your resume.