Don’t Let the Holidays Derail Your Job Search

Jolene Pilgrim
15 Dec 2018

Stop us if you know this one:

“Oh the weather outside is frightful…but my job prospects are so…frightful also.”

Okay, so we may have butchered a holiday classic just a touch, but if you’re one of the many of those looking for a job this holiday season, we feel your pain.  The holidays fall during the typically busy end of year season. For most employers, this means their days are often filled with number crunching, mad dash order fulfillment, or painful customer service experiences, all of which means there is little time to focus on hiring activities.

Even if you do manage to come across a long-term, career-making, employer hiring in December, their schedules are often filled with vacations, holiday office parties, and other end-of-year activities.  And don’t even get us started on those obligatory extended family visits listening to uncle Ralph regale you with stories of trudging 10 miles in the snow each way to the liquor store last week. All of this making merry can make reviewing applications, much less replying to qualified candidates or scheduling interviews, a near impossible task for most hiring managers.  

This adds up to a potentially non-merrymaking holiday season for anyone looking to move forward in their job search.  Just because things are slow during this magical time of the year, however, doesn’t mean that those in the market to make a career switch should lose all hope.  Don’t let the holidays derail your job search but instead take some inspiration from our festive advice for keeping positive and productive as you wait it out until the New Years hiring spree.

Maintain Your Holiday Cheer

Nobody wants to hang with the party pooper at the annual white elephant Christmas party.  This universal truth can also be applied to your holiday season job search. A poor attitude will not only leave you down in the dumps, but it will also show through any potential applications, interviews, or networking opportunities you may happen across.

There are plenty of organic opportunities that may arise as a result of holiday shenanigans.  Take the opportunity to reach out to friends, former colleagues, and others in your professional field.  Instead of staying home watching Grinch on repeat, show up to social events and use the chance to remind those in your circle that you’re in the job market.  While you’re at it, enjoy a couple glass of that loaded eggnog for a winning time all round.

Keep a Consistent Schedule

Whether it’s the holiday season or any other regular old time of the year, making and maintaining a schedule for job seeking is an integral part of any career switch.  Since traditional business tends to slow between Thanksgiving and Christmas, it can be easy for us to sit back and hibernate by not continuing to actively search out opportunities.

Instead of binging Hallmark holiday specials, be sure to set yourself weekly and monthly goals for furthering your career prospects.  Carve out one to two hours a day for perusing the most recent job listings on Simply Hired. Schedule some time for updating certifications or obtaining new ones that may be useful once the job market picks back up in the new year.  Falling off the horse when it comes to your daily routine during the holidays will make it that much harder to pick your good habits back up in January.

Don’t Overindulge

Let’s be realistic here for a moment.  If someone asks you if you’d like another piece of cousin Mable’s world famous peanut butter fudge, it’s going to be awfully hard to turn that bad boy down.  And we wouldn’t have it any other way. The holiday season is a time for celebrating, after all, and individual moments and experiences should be enjoyed with gusto.

Much like overeating can cause us to gain a few (or more) inches on our waistline during November and December, too much partying, gifting and general merrymaking can lead to monetary strains on our budget.  This type of overindulgence when you’re in the job market often has negative effects on your credit and your willingness to take the first position that comes along after New Years.

Instead of gorging yourself, make a plan and stick to it.  Find the room for that one extra piece of fudge by exercising a few more minutes a day and allow yourself that fancy holiday outfit by cutting back on your take out orders for the month.  This will keep you both physically and financially fit and better able to make clear and rational career choices once a great opportunity comes along.

Take a Break (and Enjoy It)

Last but not least on our tips for preventing the holidays from derailing your job search is a piece of advice that may seem counterintuitive.  While you may be overly stressed from the pressure to find a job this time of year, don’t forget to take time to breathe, relax and focus on your own and your family’s mental and emotional health.

There is plenty going on in our daily lives from mid-November through December.  Instead of berating yourself over a lack of job movement, take a few moments to reflect on your many accomplishments over the past year.  Spend some time relaxing with friends and family and recharge your emotional and mental state so that you approach the post-holiday hiring season with renewed energy.  Just stay away from Aunt Edna’s fruitcake. We’re pretty sure it’s the same loaf that she’s been bringing to the last five or so Christmas dinners.

Jolene Pilgrim