Should I Stop My Job Search During the Holidays?

Beth Braccio Hering, special to CareerBuilder

As the calendar year comes to a close, job seekers may be tempted to put their hunt on hold. After all, companies are too busy trying to get work done amid office parties and days off to have time for new hires, right?

Wrong, say many experts. Slack off during November and December and you might just miss one of the best times of the year to find a job.

Company needs for talent do not take vacation

"I would say taking time off from your job search is never wise, regardless of the time of year or season," states Frank Dadah, general manager at Winter, Wyman -- one of the largest staffing organizations in the Northeast. "Oftentimes, year end is the busiest time of the year for companies, not only because they are getting ready for the year-end close but because they are gearing up for a quick start to the new year. It may be a bit more challenging to schedule interviews during the holidays, but that doesn't mean companies aren't hiring."

Elaine Varelas, managing partner at Keystone Partners (a career management and transition services consulting firm headquartered in Boston), agrees. "When there is a need, a candidate needs to be there. The idea that a candidate should suspend her job search during the holidays or that employers stop recruiting during this time is very dated."

Take for instance The Knowland Group, a company headquartered in McLean, Va., that offers business development solutions for the global hospitality industry. According to communications manager Tom Crosson, the company is in the process of hiring 200 workers to staff a new call center that is opening by year's end.

Likewise, Josh Jones, CEO of DreamHost Web Hosting (a Los Angeles-based web hosting provider and domain name registrar) says his company is planning a late 2010 hiring "spree" for about 20 full-time positions. "We're trying to gear up for what we expect to be faster growth starting in early 2011, and we want to have people on board and situated already by the time that comes."

Potential advantages for applicants

Dadah and Varelas both note that one of the foremost reasons to pursue employment during the final months of the year is a reduction in competition. By keeping your search going at a time when others have slowed down or stopped, you have a greater chance of being noticed. Also, job seeking during the holidays can show prospective employers your seriousness about landing a position.

Catherine Jewell, author of 'New Résumé New Career: Get the Job You Want with the Skills and Experience You Already Have,' thinks that job seekers who keep at it are even more likely to be hired during the holiday season than at other times.

"Human resource managers have year-end deadlines," Jewell says. "The new year brings a new budget. Toward the end of the fiscal year, hiring managers may have a number of new positions to fill. They will be evaluated on whether they get the job done."

Other reasons why Jewell suggests keeping your job search going full throttle during the holiday season:

  • Holiday activities often put managers in a more receptive mood. When people are focused on family and fun through the holidays, they often are more open and receptive to conversation -- even from job seekers.
  • Holiday events are a natural networking environment. Professional associations often have free holiday events. Job seekers should be sure to take advantage of parties given by associations, chambers and clubs that are of interest.
  • Holiday greetings by mail, e-mail and telephone keep you connected. People searching for jobs should harness the spirit of the season to amp up gratitude. Thank former clients, vendors and co-workers. Thank bosses and mentors. Thank everyone who has helped.

So while it may be tempting to take a long winter's nap during the final weeks of the year, smart job seekers should write "looking for work" at the top of their holiday to-do list. They just might ring in the new year with a new job!

Beth Braccio Hering researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues for Follow @CBForJobSeekers on Twitter.

Read Full Story