Pounding the pavement for a new job at any time of the year is tough, but it can be especially challenging during the holiday season. The companies you’re targeting are having holiday events and accommodating employee vacations. Work hours and schedules may be lighter or, alternately, people are seriously buckling down. The prospect of getting your foot in the door for an interview is daunting. But following a few tips will make your experience more productive and if you have a job, how do you avoid being a Grinch while coworkers celebrate?
Lisa McDonald, a brand strategist and career coach at CareerPolish.com, suggests you be realistic about the job hunt this time of year. “It’s best to adjust your awareness, expectations, and delivery,” she says. “Be aware that many, but not all companies, slow down hiring during holidays and therefore communication and follow up may be delayed. Not only is it the holidays, it is year-end; this makes a significant impact on many elements within a company, including hiring.”
Be Realistic and Lighten Up
With an outlook like that, it’s hard to stay upbeat, but McDonald emphasizes keeping with the spirit of the season. If you do connect with network opportunities, go with the flow. “It’s not the time for hard and fast networking. Remember, the celebrations are all about cheer – lightheartedness, having fun, relaxing, and getting away from work,” she says. “Instead of doing a sales presentation of yourself, let your conversation partner know you are looking for your next opportunity and ask if you could speak with them after the holidays when they have more time.”
Gracefully Opting Out of Festivities
Even if you were lucky enough to land a job prior to the holidays, you may still be recovering from that stretch of unemployment. But who wants to be a Grinch in the season of giving? By setting some limits on spending and being creative, you’ll be able to participate and have fun without the guilt.
When asked for donations – Folks in the office may ask for charitable donations, either personal or as a work group. Be clear that you/your family have favorite causes you’ve already committed to.
When invited to after-work holiday bashes – Make an effort to attend, but order from the appetizer menu and opt out of happy hour with a soda.
When there’s a gift exchange – Get creative and craft a “gift certificate” for a service you’ll provide, such as a ride to and pick-up at the airport. Make special food items to share.
The key to surviving and hopefully enjoying this holiday season is to keep your expectations realistic. But remember to put forth good energy so it may return in kind.
Make the most of your upcoming new year: Start your search for a shiny new job now!