4 Job Search Tips to Stay Competitive During the Holidays

Keep Your Competitive Edge in the Market

Next week is the Thanksgiving holiday for those of us residing here in the US. Right around this time each year, the impending holiday season prompts the conversation, “Should I press pause on my job search during the holidays … or keep looking?”

Does hiring slow down after late November?

Yes – hiring does traditionally slow down after late November as we proceed into the holiday season, picking up again in the weeks following New Year’s.

Are companies still hiring during the holidays?

Yes – hiring IS still happening during this period, nonetheless, for several reasons. Those include seasonal positions that require staffing up, unused hiring budgets that reset for those companies whose fiscal year begins January 1, and rush periods for companies who gear up for new product launches in the first couple months of the new year.

Forgive me, but you get no free pass this holiday season. That’s a good thing, and let me tell you why.

How to Get Hired During the Holidays

My recommendation to you is to keep the momentum going and at the same time, utilize your time to your highest benefit. In other words, look at what kinds of activities and efforts are likely to bring you the most return, given the circumstances.

Use this time as a perfect opportunity to not only continue searching but to get any materials in order so as to feel prepared when hiring picks back up in the coming weeks. That means getting your resume and relevant profiles, documents, and search tools in order, putting time into perfecting your “personal brand,” (and what that really means), working on your interviewing skills, and doing double duty at holiday events by enjoying a little fun AND networking.

Where to start:

Take on New Side Projects

Seek out potential freelance, volunteer, or event self-directed projects that can help you boost your portfolio of work or your portfolio of skills for the new year.

Hit up your contacts on LinkedIn and social media, or peruse the opportunities on freelance boards like Gig.com, Upwork, Freelancer, and Craigslist.

Join an accountability group to keep you motivated, or a weekly newsletter that sends you regular writing prompts, design ideas, or other skills. Build a simple static online portfolio that you can use to market yourself.

Explore a New Areas of Potential Expertise

Digital learning platforms like Skillshare and UDemy offer cutting-edge online courses in everything from creative to coding to cooking. Take a course on portfolio development for designers, or image retouching.

If you’re a writer, New York-based Gotham Writers offers a fantastic list of multi-genre online writing courses and 1-day intensives (I’ve taken their creative non-fiction).

General Assembly offers endless options for programming, business, product management, and other areas of tech.

Bonus: many of the online sites are currently offering holiday sales.

Learn a New Software (or a new version)

I personally recommend Lynda.com for comprehensive, affordable, and user-friendly training on hundreds of different software and technology platforms. Look at some of the areas that might help you add more value in your role, whether it’s understanding Google Analytics to make more informed marketing recommendations, or mastering a new area of social media to take your brand to the next level.

If you’re interested in imaging, Adobe Creative Cloud offers their most popular software in an affordable subscription-based model.

Lumosity is a fun little online tool that uses games to help you boost your memory, creativity, and mental acuity.

Continue Your Job Search

Explore any one of these options and you’ve instantly boosted your resume, or increased your chances of getting in the door in December or January. And if you’re actively (or passively) job searching, or considering a career change, I encourage you to continue looking – or researching at the very least.

In years past, our recruiting numbers would be through the roof in November as our clients staffed up for either the end of year or beginning of January.

So be ready, and why not make yourself more competitive in the process?