Job Hunting During the Holidays: Naughty or Nice?

Esri HR Partners Kristin, left, and Megan

For a lot of us, this time of year can be especially stressful … buying gifts, preparing special meals, and a full social calendar. But if you’re looking for a new job or considering a career change, you don’t have to put the job hunt on hold until after the New Year. Esri HR partners Kristin and Megan share some tips on how you can make the most of looking for a new opportunity during the holiday season.

Is this a good time to look for a new job?

Kristin: People assume the holidays are a slower time of year for staffing and hiring, but that doesn’t mean they should stop putting their application out or reviewing new postings. Employers are still posting advertisements and reviewing resumés, so if a job seeker wants to get their resumé in for review, now would be a perfect time.

Megan: Job seekers may think hiring slows down, but at Esri that couldn’t be farther from the truth. We still have jobs to fill and are looking for strong candidates. I agree with what Kristin is saying about not letting that perception take over, because it’s not true.

Kristin: Some companies are trying to fill jobs by the end of the calendar year, so even though the holidays are near there might be a greater sense of urgency. If you get a resumé in before that window closes, you might have a greater chance of being considered.

Megan: Another thought for candidates to keep in mind is that we’re doing a lot of 2014 planning. Even though we’re reviewing resumés with current openings in mind, there may be a position we’ve identified we want to fill next year. Someone who applies now may be evaluated as a possible fit for an opening in the future.

How can job seekers maximize all the social events that take place during the holidays?

Kristin: The holidays are a great time to make your network bigger because people are interested in learning what you do or talking about what they do, and that might build a connection of either friendship or a work relationship in the future. It would take a lot of courage, at least for some, to bring a business card and say, “I’m looking for a job,” but you can do so through more subtle conversations.

Megan: I think it’s important for candidates to be willing to step outside their comfort zone and ask others about their story. People like to talk about what they do for work and how they got to where they are today. In addition to learning from other people’s successes, you might also make a connection that could lead to future opportunities.

Are there other holiday-related activities that might be an opportunity for a job seeker to network?

Megan: If you have a personal blog or send out a “year in review” holiday letter, you could mention how you’re trying to pursue your career passion and interests in a specific area. This could be an avenue to let people know how you’re making changes to pursue those interests.

Another thought: During the holidays, a lot of people give back to their communities in one way or another. Participating in these events and opening yourself up to meeting new people and diversifying your personal network could lead to great things.

Is there any downside to job searching over the holidays?

Kristin: People might need to expect a little bit of a delay if it’s right around the holidays, because even though a business may not close, a recruiter might be off for a couple of days or a week. It is not always a bad sign if you don’t hear immediately.

Some people think the holidays are a bad time to change jobs, but they’re not thinking about the lead time from submitting the application until you actually give your notice and start a different job. Although they may have their mind on holidays and families right now, they may regret six or eight weeks from now that they didn’t already submit their resumé.

Any other tips you’d like to share?

Megan: I always like to remind students and alumni to get connected with their career center on campus. Most offer numerous resources that could make all the difference in a candidate’s job search, and career centers may be seeing a slowdown now too. Typically, you can set up one-on-one meetings or participate in workshops to sharpen your job seeking skills.

As an alum, I utilized my career center multiple times. Not only was I able to get help with my resumé and interviewing skills, but they also allowed me to use their networks to get my foot in the door. It’s all about taking the initiative to do the things you know will help you get the results you’re looking for. Why waste time and energy on activities that you aren’t seeing results.

Kristin: I imagine candidates are taking time off themselves, so if they’re serious about wanting to change their situation or their job, maybe commit 30 minutes every day or every other day just to look at new postings, or an hour to refine your resumé. Use your time off wisely.

What are you most looking forward to this Christmas?

Megan: Well, that’s easy, because it’s my son’s first Christmas. He’ll be one year old in January, so we’ll be celebrating his first Christmas and then his first birthday.

Kristin: I’m looking forward to my entire extended family being together. We’ll have quite a crowd.

Have a question for Kristin or Megan? E-mail them at careersblog@esri.com.

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