Many job seekers are getting ready for the holidays. True, you are probably cutting back on expenses if you're out of work. Still, cooking, baking, decorating and even maybe a little shopping might still be part of your plans. But what about your job search? Some job seekers think that employers don't hire workers in December, so they spend less time actively seeking work or take a break from it all together. And some job seekers trade in an active job search solely for job hunt planning.
In 5 Myths of Holiday Job Search , Rob Taub urges job seekers to continue actively seeking work during this period. He says that executives often make job offers during the holidays and tells why.
Here’s his myth list:
Myth 1: Nobody hires in December.
December can be more hectic for the job seeker for the window shuts quickly, but it’s still a month that employees are being paid to work. There is also a sense of urgency among companies to meet budget deadlines, to spend money before the year ends, and fill recruitment needs with the money before it’s gone. Executive recruiters are paid a higher percentage of commission toward the end of the year, which helps job seekers. Finally there are always those strong companies that want to start off the New Year with a bang! That could mean “juicing up” their sales forces or other teams.
Myth 2: You won’t find good jobs in December.
You’re just as likely to find the job you really want in December as in any other month. You’ll have less competition because so many people believe there are no jobs or no good jobs. Since the holidays are filled with fun and parties, people tend to feel the good cheer of the season and be more relaxed. And you’re likely to find networking with employed people easier. When you meet them they are more open and generous. Also, holiday events present opportunities to network at parties, at your children’s school, at congregations, among your community, and elsewhere.
Myth 3: Nothing ever happens between Thanksgiving and the third week of January.
Wrong! If true, why do most recruiters advise job candidates to be flexible in scheduling interviews and meetings around the holidays and to avoid taking week-long trips during the holidays? Here's what one executive from a prominent Boston firm did: Right after the holidays, she’d give candidates incentives to be on board by January 2. She would ask for them to meet (anywhere of their choosing) on New Year’s Eve day. And the next day, her finalist was on board. She would find an hour on New Year’s Day to get into her office and have all the paperwork ready for the next day.
Myth 4: Use December to plan your search and be ready to hit the market after the first of the year.
Companies needs may be cyclical or seasonal but if there is a need they address it nonetheless. If a company has a need, the hiring manager doesn’t care whether it’s January or December. Also, most companies end their fiscal year with the calendar year. The company will fill needs in December they may anticipate for January simply because of budgetary preferences – interview in December to hire early in January.
Myth 5: Even if an employer may have an opening, many hiring managers are tied up with budgets, deadlines and family and are hard to find.
Although the interviewing process can be slower during the holidays because of the number of days people are out of the office, it doesn’t come to a halt. The early bird catches the worm. Departments are always covered and teams are continually moving forward, despite holiday vacations and days off. Nonetheless, you need to remain flexible because hiring managers are in and out of town and there are company parties, personal time and other holiday activities. You may have to visit a company three or four times to meet key players, and meet at odd times and at different places. Job candidates need to make sure they’ll be available.
Taub says that it has been his experience that this last week in December may be the best time for you; and may even stretch to the third week of January. After then, all your job-seeking competitors will be back into their job search.
The bottom line: By actively seeking work at this time, you could give yourself one of the best holiday gifts of all -- a new job!