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“Yes, The Holidays Can Be a Great Time To Find a New Job”

Soon you will be ordering the turkey. Hanging wreaths. Buying presents. Energize your job search ... what! Energize your job search! I know each task on your year-end to-do list grows more urgent with every second the New Year draws nearer. But unless you are content to let the competition get a jump on you, you ought to give your job search some serious thought. Because as 2004 fades, so do most opportunities to get a jump on the competition.

Some job search myths are so appealing we accept them without really questioning their validity. For instance, the notion that the holiday period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is not a good time to conduct a job search. It’s unfortunate that many job seekers believe these myths. In fact, calls I have made to executive recruiters, hiring executives, and others confirm that the holiday period is one of the best times to be looking for a job. The statistics show that a large number of people get jobs in January. One executive recruiter recently told me that many of their initial contacts are made during the holiday period

Many of us believe that no one is around during the holidays, but it is just not so. Yes, many people take vacation leave at the end of the year; however, few are gone for the entire holiday period. Access to decision makers actually improves during the month of December. Those at work are often more available, have fewer meetings, and may answer their own phones ... and you know how great that is! Getting through to people -- past the gatekeepers or through voice mail -- is half the battle.

People love to talk about how slow things are in December, however, savvy job seekers should view this as a plus. During the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, many inexperienced or less motivated executives drop out of the market for various reasons. What this means is less competition! Those who step up their activity in December are more likely to gain the competitive advantage. Making contact with decision makers and HR folks in December, places job seekers several steps ahead of others. This will be a significant factor during the month of January, historically noted, as one of the busiest search months, when competition soars to all time highs.

Job seekers have repeatedly said to me, “I hate to bother people during the holidays,” one executive told me recently, “They have too many other things to do ... the last thing they would want to do would be to hear from me.” This simply is not true; many job seekers underestimate the effect of the holiday spirit. Actually, people are more receptive and willing to help others during the season of giving. The holiday period is one of the best opportunities that you will find for networking and making contacts. Believe it or not, people are much more likely to want to help!

So what benefit is this for you? The holiday period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s may be one of the best times to conduct a job search. Here are five solid reasons why: Less competition, greater access to decision makers, next year’s budgets have been finalized, it is the giving season, and the January hiring rush.

-Joe Hodawanes

Joe Hodowanes, a career strategy adviser in Tampa, Florida, offers a free resume and career analysis. Fax your resume to (813) 936-0201 or sent it to jmwanes@jmwanes.com via e-mail. For questions, call Joe at (813) 936-0091 or visit www.jmwanes.com on the Web.