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Dispelling the 4 Great Myths of a Holiday Job Search

Myth: Employers donít hire in December.

Truth: December is a wonderful time to search for a new job. Since candidate pools dry up and job seekers quit looking during the holidays many hiring budgets go unspent and a good many jobs remain unfilled until the New Year. Also, according to human resource consultants and executive recruiters, many companies, because of the nature of their business, are not impacted by the holidays at all. Business continues as usual. Many professionals will also use this period to resign their position, especially if bonuses are not a factor, in order to start a new job in January. This creates additional opportunities as vacancies need to be filled.

Myth: Itís hard to network during the holidays.

Truth: Actually the reverse is true. People tend to be motivated by the holiday spirit and since they often have less to do, are usually more receptive to spending time with aspiring job-seekers. You will also find that holiday events are wonderful networking occasions. With all of the religious, family, and social events you have a great opportunity to expand your contacts and maintain impetus going into the New Year. Tell people about yourself, ask for advice and contacts, and collect business cards for follow up.

Myth:The chances of finding a job are much better after the holidays.

Truth: If an employer has a need for someone it wonít make any difference whether itís December, January, or any other month. Hiring is usually based upon a need for someone, and not on the time of year. If you have the qualifications, it is very likely the company will be receptive to your candidacy and your aggressiveness will help you stand out from the crowd. Another large advantage is the much smaller number of competitors during the holiday season. Our experience shows that throughout most of the year over 200 job seekers respond to help wanted advertisements. However, during the Christmas season, that number dwindles to less than 50. As a result your chances of generating interviews through published ads alone are dramatically increased.

Myth: Companies have depleted their budgets and wonít have money until January.

Truth: Executives and department managers may want to use the remainder of their annual budgets before they lose them at the end of the year, or they may be in a recruiting mode to select the candidate to hire early in January when funds are available. The people they typically select are the ones who were being recruited in December. If you stop your job search over the holidays it could cost you dearly in January.

Some helpful hints:

  1. Send holiday cards to hiring managers with whom youíve recently interviewed and enclose a short note reinforcing your interest and indicating that you will contact them shortly after the first of the year. You should also send holiday cards to those people with whom you have met with for networking meetings.

  2. If you have a real need for income, many retailers such as Best Buy, Target, Marshall Fields, Wal-Mart, Home Depot and others hire extra departmental help over the holidays. Temporary agencies also have increased requests for talent during this period. An interim source of income can help you generate some well needed earnings, present numerous opportunities to network with people you meet, and restore your self-confidence.

  3. Continue your schedule and job search routine without abatement. It will help you to maintain a positive mental attitude and minimize the traditional tendency towards despondency during the holiday period.

  4. Do charity work and volunteer your time. It will help you to stay mentally active, maintain a positive spirit, and probably present you with some excellent networking opportunities as well.

  5. Use holiday get-togethers with family and friends to remind them about your job search. Attend church events and other social gatherings. Job leads can come from places you would never expect.

  6. If you are seeking the assistance of career counselors or outplacement professionals to help you in your job search, December is an excellent month to form that relationship because their fees are usually tax deductible.

Unfortunately, many of the unemployed become bitter, angry, or depressed during the holidays and often let their emotions control their actions. They fail to take advantage of the wonderful opportunities that exist only at this time of year. Donít let that happen to you. You have the ability to influence many of the events that shape your life. The following quote by Ralph Marston expresses quite succinctly how important it is to maintain the right mental attitude and push forward with determination and an unwavering commitment to achieving your goals.

"Go ahead and imagine the most wonderful, fulfilling life that you can. Jump in your mind past the current obstacles and limitations to the fulfillment of every form of richness that you know life can hold. Dare to visualize a world in which your most treasured dreams have become true. Let your mind see every detail of your own special version of the very best that life can be. If you could make the world exactly to your liking, consider very specifically just how that world would be. If you could spend your time doing precisely what you wish, how would the moments of your life be lived? The more closely you get in touch with your dreams, the more able you are to make them real. The more vividly you consider how you want your world to be, the more real and effective tools you will have for making it so. Your destiny is to fulfill those things upon which you focus most intently. So choose to keep your focus on that which is truly magnificent, beautiful, uplifting and joyful. Your life is always moving toward something. Make it something that's absolutely great." (Copyright 2005 Ralph S. Marston, Jr. Used by permission. Originally published in the "Daily Motivator" at www.dailymotivator.com).

The month of December presents numerous opportunities for the job hunter. This is a time to strengthen, not reduce your efforts. The rewards are immense and there is no downside. Stop looking for excuses and reap the rewards of continued activity.

- Lawrence Alter

Author Lawrence Alter is president of L.D.A. Enterprises, Ltd.; a Minneapolis based outplacement and career management firm. He is a recognized expert in career growth techniques. Send ideas or questions via email to: LDA@EmploymentClinic.com. Website address: www.EmploymentClinic.com