Some job seekers take Holiday Spice Lattes and Christmas music in every store as a signal to shut down their search until the New Year, but our advice is that right now is actually a “most wonderful time of the year” for anyone looking to advance their career. Make the most of the season if you’re in a job search or even just thinking about a new job in the New Year. Use these 12 tips that to advance your career progress while others have put their career plans on ice:
- Make a list: Even if you’re not in a job search, this is great time to think about your career goals for the coming year. What do you want to accomplish? Who can help you? What research do you need to do before you start talking to people?
- Check it twice: To support an effective search, you’ll need a professionally crafted and formatted résumé that showcases your accomplishments backed up by a Linkedin profile that conveys your “brand.” This is a good time of year to document what you’ve achieved over the last 12 months.
- Naughty or nice: Speaking of LinkedIn, this is a perfect time of year to show appreciation for what others have done for you. If you haven’t written a LinkedIn testimonial already, use the holiday season to share your gratitude.
- With every Christmas card I write: The holidays offer a special time to stay in touch with contacts. Given how little “snail mail” most of us receive, greeting cards can help you stand out. You don’t even have to send them now – think about the New Year.
- Wish I had a river to skate away on: If you are unemployed at the moment, don’t try to hide it. These days, there’s no stigma attached to being “between engagements” just focus on where you’re headed, not why you are no longer where you were.
- Go tell it on the mountain: Prepare for the inevitable“What are you up to these days?” at holiday events by drafting, practicing and perfecting your “reason for looking” statement so you’re prepared for conversations.
- Baby it’s cold outside: When the weather outside is frightful it’s tempting to hunker down at home with eggnog and cookies. Demonstrate your work ethic by going to those interviews, networking meetings and events, even if they’re a hard to get to.
- Blue Christmas: Holidays can be challenging for people at the best of times, with memories of times past tinged with nostalgia, regret or stronger emotions. If you find yourself slipping into a funk, reach out to your coach or trusted advisor to get back on track.
- Don’t save it all for “Christmas Day”: If the only thing you want out of your job search is a new job, you’re going to be miserable every day but one. What else can you learn, develop, work on during this time? Use transition to create memories of productivity and satisfaction, not frustration.
- Jingle all the way: No matter what the time of year, conducting an effective job search is a process that takes time. As I tell my clients, we hope for a sprint, but we plan for a marathon. The sooner you trust–even embrace–the process, the faster you’ll make progress.
- Here comes Santa Claus: Good news–December is a huge month for hiring! Anyone who works for an organization with a calendar fiscal year and is looking to hire wants to get it done before the end of the year. This is the time to step up, not stop your job search activity.
- Dashing through the snow: From large-scale alumni/ae events to professional association holiday socials and festive office parties, networking opportunities abound. Our next blog will focus on effective holiday networking.
It’s up to you to make this holiday season as productive as it joyous. Give yourself the gift of clarity, focus and commitment to make these days meaningful.