Executives in the job market know this is the slowest time of the year for launching new recruitment efforts to fill open or newly created positions. Here are five things executives in the job market can do to maintain their momentum through the holiday season — Thanksgiving Eve through New Year’s Day.
Search projects that have been in the works tend to slow down during the holidays given the difficulty of scheduling interviews — getting everyone who needs to be involved in the interview process to commit to being available because of holiday activities or end-of-the-year vacations.
Whether you are already involved in the interview process or just starting a job search, the important thing during the holiday lull is to avoid losing emotional and/or mental momentum. Turning off your energy and tuning out until after the first of the year is not something I would recommend. Here are five suggestions to keep those wheels turning and maintain your momentum during this dormant period:
- Volunteer your time. Whether it is at a food bank, soup kitchen for the homeless or staffing a Salvation Army red kettle for several shifts, all are ways to maintain a positive mental attitude. The act of contributing to help someone else and the interaction that comes with your effort could be helpful in networking if you are looking for a job in a local market. Offering a helping hand to those who need support is a powerful fuel to enrich your soul, your energy and your outlook on life. As the late tennis great Arthur Ash once said: “From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life.” This will carry over to 2018 and your job search.
- Broaden your network. Nathan Chaffetz, Director of Business Development for Perfect Loop, a Seattle-based recruiting and staffing enterprise, agrees with the idea of volunteering your time for a worthy cause but he also suggests that job seekers score invitations to holiday parties because there are almost always executives and other employees from companies where the hosts work. That said, remember it is a party, not a gathering designed for you to make unwanted pitches for employment. Rather, this is a time to meet people and form bonds that could be productive in the new year.
- Develop your LinkedIn connections. Most candidates I deal with in our outplacement practice offer a common lament — they just do not have the time to invest in building out a robust, productive LinkedIn network. This is the time. The closer we come to Christmas, the less interested a prospective employer is going to be in hearing an unsolicited pitch, in person or in writing, so use this time to identify companies you would like to work for and build strategic networks around those organizations with people that work there or who might know people who work there.
- Feed your professional soul. Executives say that with the pressures of a demanding job, they do not always have the time to do the reading they want to do. This is a great time to catch up on your business reading and to develop a series of short posts that can be uploaded to your various social media sites, especially LinkedIn, early in the new year. Offering valuable content will be appreciated by your network and will help you get noticed by recruiters who are rushing to fill positions that have been on holiday hold.
- Begin new routines. So many candidates I meet in our searches or through our career transition practice are at a disadvantage in developing a more powerful resume because they cannot remember the details of prior successes. You can improve your marketability by having a resume that offers examples of the successes that speak to the needs of a specific potential employer. Keeping a journal is a money-in-the-bank move to strengthen you personally. You should also begin journaling those things in life for which you are grateful. Dr. Johnny Parker turned me on to this practice and I immediately sensed an uptick in my attitude and level of confidence. Others that have started journaling gratitude have reported similar positive effects. As one of our outplacement clients told me recently, “It lifted my soul. I began to realize how much I had to be grateful for. That was instrumental in breaking out and landing a great job.”
This may be a dormant time but there is much a job seeker can do to maintain her or his momentum. Do not waste the gift.