December 09, 2009
Holiday Season = Job Search Season
Bringing the hiring side's perspective to the Monster Blog, today's guest post comes from Matt Charney, a seasoned corporate recruiter. Matt has recently joined Monster as a social media engagement manager.
One winter, while recruiting for a Fortune 50 company, my staffing team received an internal communiqué telling us how to stay busy during the holidays. The top recommendation: Get ahead of next year's work by reaching out to prospective candidates now.
The message is essentially the same for job seekers: Don't take a holiday from your job search; keep at it. In today's fiercely competitive job market, the holiday season presents an ideal opportunity to demonstrate your drive and ingenuity.
With budgets and headcount approved, hiring managers and recruiters are gearing up for the deluge of jobs and candidates that typically comes immediately after the New Year. This is not to say there’s no hiring during the month of December; conversely, many firms and recruiters are racing the clock to fill all open positions by the end of the year.
To get a head start on new openings, be vigilant and don't succumb to perceived holiday lulls. In addition to searching for jobs, you can make the best use of your time by laying the groundwork with these activities:
What better excuse to reconnect with a past colleague or potential employer than to send
a “Season's Greetings” email or card? It can set the groundwork for deeper conversations in the coming year.
Reopen Closed Doors
Chances are you’ve had conversations with potential employers regarding opportunities that didn’t materialize. Send an email reminding your contacts of the position you interviewed for, who you met with and any feedback you received. (Recruiters are more likely to respond to direct emails than follow-up phone calls.) In many cases, recruiters won’t follow up with strong candidates, assuming they’re off the market. If you’re still looking, interested and proactive, let them know.
Research Potential Employers and Reach Out
Identify and research a few firms you think would be a good fit for you. Target broadly -- that Fortune 500 conglomerate, for instance, might not be as good a match as that unknown local start-up. Impress hiring managers by doing your homework. Read up on the company’s SEC filings, 3rd-party news stories or customer reviews to understand the firms' financials, industry and structure.
Expand Your Options
Take a step back and assess your skills and interests. Beyond what you have already done and what you could do, what do you want to do?
Many experienced candidates feel that with a proven track record and focus, this question is best consigned to entry-level job seekers or those exploring career changes. From the hiring perspective, anyone looking for a new opportunity is making a career change.
Take Some Time for Yourself
Looking for a new job can be draining; in fact, it may be the hardest job you’ll ever have. While it’s unwise to stop searching for a job during the holidays, it’s just as important to take some time off. With the work you’ve put into your job search, you deserve it.
Take advantage of holiday downtime by exploring Monster's 12 Days of Job Search on Facebook. From December 7th to the 22nd, we'll feature daily articles, tips and advice on keeping your job search active now and into 2010.
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Matt--I liked your first article on the Monster Blog. It's instructive, precise and smart.
Posted by: Valentino Martinez | Dec 9, 2009 12:10:37 PM
Many job seekers will take time off their job hunt to relax at the holidays. If you don't let up during this period, you get to put yourself ahead of the competition
Posted by: Kingsley Tagbo | Dec 9, 2009 12:19:58 PM
Holiday Job Hunting: Fact & Fiction
The Quiz & Answers
Please indicate “Fact” or “Fiction” for each of the statements below.
1. There is less competition for jobs in December.
Fact. Competition for positions is greatly reduced because of the prevailing belief that employers don’t
hire in December. Most of your competitors will not be looking for a job this month but look out in
January! Many job seekers get offers they wouldn’t ordinarily get by looking in December.
2. There are only a few positions open in December.
Fiction. For most companies, next year’s budget is already approved. Hiring managers either want to
start the year with full staff or have requisitions for positions that begin immediately after the New
Year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics surveys show no pattern of a drop-off in permanent hires at year-
end. In fact, most companies have the same number of openings at year-end as they do the rest of the
year but they have fewer candidates. There may also be pressure to exhaust this year’s hiring budget.
3. January is the strongest hiring month of the year.
Fact. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, January is the strongest hiring month of the year.
Remember, it’s the legwork done in November and December that puts job seekers in a better position
to snag the first-of-the-year positions.
4. Hiring managers are too busy during the holidays to do interviews.
Fiction. Fewer business trips and daylong meetings take place in December making it easier to reach
decision makers. Most managers have reached their goals and are at their desks planning for the New
Year. Managers could also have tips of positions that will open after the first of the year.
5. Calls to potential employers are not welcome during the holidays.
Fiction. For most of the year, managers strive to screen the tide of job hunters coming their way. At
year-end, however, that tide has thinned and hiring managers are in a more giving mood. The best time
to call is first thing in the morning and late afternoon. By mid-day they are likely to be roaming the
halls or taking longer lunch breaks.
6. Holiday parties are great places to get job leads.
Fact. Of course, you have to have your strategy well planned. Collect your holiday presents early by
requesting job leads and referrals from your friends. Be company and department specific in your
request naming your target company and the specific department. Get names, numbers, and permission
to mention your contact’s name in the initial call. Appearing desperate is a downer for everybody.
Engage in some relaxed conversation about job openings.
Make appointments with willing friends and acquaintances for coffee or other short social meetings to
discuss your search. Have your 90-second commercial ready along with a 60 second description of
your ideal job. (See the “Tools” handout for more information.)
7. Sending Holiday greeting cards is a waste of time.
Fiction. Use your holiday cards to update friends, associates, and family on your current status. An
upbeat note in the card will start your phone ringing. Expanding your list of card recipients will put
your name in front of more people, possibly some that you will see at holiday parties.
8. December is a good month to take time off from a job search.
Fiction. The prevailing concept is that companies don’t hire during the holidays. Fact: they do!!
Taking yourself out of the game shrinks the pool of candidates and gives someone else the edge.
9. Traveling during the holidays stops a job search.
Fiction. Okay, it’s a trick question. If you are already interviewing with a prospective employer, taking
a trip is a great reason to call the hiring manager with your contact information. Another possibility is
that your travels may take you to one of your target locations. How about calling potential employers
ahead of time to set up visits?
10. Taking a temporary holiday job is a bad idea.
Fact & Fiction. Taking a temp job to fill the dwindling coffers could be necessary. Selecting that job is
important. Many retail jobs will end after the rush and you’ve taken yourself off of the market at a
critical time. Temp jobs with companies that are on your hit list or if the work closely matches your
preferences and skills could be a great idea. Companies are hiring “temp to perm” more often these
Posted by: Jim Edwards | Dec 14, 2009 11:36:21 AM
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