Why December Is Prime Time For Your Job Search

<b class="credit">Getty Images</b>
Getty Images

You think the holidays are a great time to kick back and take a break from your job search. "No one is hiring now, anyway." Think again! Year after year, research shows December can be a great month for landing opportunities, so it is a big mistake to take a break now. Here are six reasons to ramp up your job search at this time of year.

1. Companies sometimes "find" money they need to spend at this time of year.
Wouldn't it be nice to suddenly discover money you didn't know you had? That happens more often than you think at large companies. They realize at the 11th hour that they have enough in the budget to fill extra positions, but they need to get the people in seats before the end of the year, or the money will disappear. If you stop looking for a job or get lackadaisical about checking emails, you may lose an opportunity and never even know it.

2. A lot of people think December is a good month to stop searching for jobs.
Not everyone is keeping up with the latest and greatest when it comes to job search like you are! A lot of your peers are taking the easy road and sitting back this month. As a result, the competition is a little less fierce, and it could mean you have an opportunity to jump on a job before your otherwise more qualified colleague stops to check job listings.

Anyone in the careers industry, including resume writers and job search strategists, will tell you that January is typically a very busy time, because that's when many people try to fulfill their new year's resolutions that involve getting out of jobs they hate. Don't sit back and wait to re-enter the pool with everyone else! Get ramped up now to take advantage of possible opportunities.

3. Unexpected openings.
Some companies give big bonuses at this time of year, and employees who were waiting for those big checks to clear before giving notice will begin to announce their intention to leave – or, in some cases, just walk out the door. When you make yourself available, you will give yourself potential opportunities that would otherwise pass you by.

4. Surprise projects during an otherwise slow time may yield temporary gigs.
We all know a lot of people take time off during the holidays. If the organization finds itself in need of extra, warm bodies to get the work done while their typical team is vacationing and decking the halls, it gives you an opportunity to step in as a contract or temporary worker. This gives you the chance to audition for a role in the company, even if you know the regular employee is coming back. If you are impressive enough, the organization may find a place for you.

5. Being available may get you half-way there.
When recruiters are in a hurry or hiring managers have an urgent need, the fact that you get right back to them during a holiday period will make you stand out and give a good impression. There aren't a lot of other times during the year when just being prompt makes such a difference.

6. Networking opportunities increase.
Networking is the best way to find a job and the holidays are nothing if not a good opportunity to network. While it's best to touch base with your network throughout the year, now is arguably the time when you can feel comfortable writing a note to someone who hasn't heard one word from you all year long. Don't turn all of your holiday notes into pleas for a job, but you can subtly incorporate your future plans into a note wishing your colleagues well. Many people do have a little less work to do at this time of year and may be willing to meet for coffee or lunch. If you can finesse a reason for one of your contacts to meet with you, when opportunities come up early in the year, you will be top-of-mind.

More from Miriam Salpeter
How to handle awkward situations at work with style
Places you never thought to network
How to make yourself essential at work

Related stories
Job-hunting tips for baby boomers
More on December hires