“With Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and all of the holiday parties happening at this time of year, job seekers should absolutely take advantage of it,” says Carolyn Yencharis Corcoran, assistant director of career development at Misericordia University in Dallas, Pennsylvania.
“Networking is the premier way to get a job, and you never know where or from whom that referral can come, so get out there and talk to everyone and anyone,” she advises. “Attend every party, whether it be your wife’s company holiday dinner, your neighborhood gathering, or your Aunt Martha’s New Year’s Eve bash. You never know who you are going to meet. Be ready with a professional, friendly answer to questions like, ‘So what do you do?’”
Increasingly, the holidays are becoming a good time to search for jobs, notes Toni McLawhorn, director of career services at Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia.
“Many metropolitan areas host regional job fairs during the break time when college students are home for the holidays, as a way of attracting people back to their hometowns for careers,” she says.
Applicants seeking salaried positions at this time of year, however, need to be prepared for things to move more slowly than they might like. With holiday closings and staff vacations, it may take organizations longer than usual to invite candidates for interviews or to follow up afterward.
“It will be more important than ever to have a strong system in place for tracking and following up on applications,” observes Liz Lierman, director of career services for Bard College at Simon’s Rock in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. “Be sure to ask when you can expect to hear back from the organization. Send a thank you note immediately after the interview, and if you don’t hear back by the specified date, send a polite, professional note reiterating your enthusiasm for the position.”
Finally, while full-time employment may be your goal, don’t reject part-time work this time of year if it is in a field that you might want to enter full-time later.
“These experiences should be as meaningful as possible and alignment [with your career goals] is ideal,” says Robert Lidell, director of career planning at Saint Leo University in Saint Leo, Florida. “During this time period, focus on what you truly want out of a career and where you are most likely to meet those needs.”
Special thanks to Laura Snyder at Dick Jones Communications for this story.