Many job seekers mistakenly believe that hiring halts during the holiday season, but, according to career consultant and author Jean Baur, November and December are not dead zones in the job market.
"If you're out there working the job market when others aren't, you've got an advantage. You have less competition. You'll stand out," Baur says. "And in addition, it's the people who are using winter holiday parties to network who will be working sooner than those who give up and stay home to bake cookies."
In her book Eliminated! Now What?: Finding Your Way from Job-Loss Crisis to Career Resilience, Baur offers the following tips for navigating the job market during the holidays:
• Take advantage of the holiday season to send e-cards to your network that offer a brief update on the status of your job search.
• Use the holidays as an opportunity to connect with others. This could mean inviting your neighbors over for dessert and coffee, organizing an outing for your children and some of their friends or helping a friend with a project. These activities should be fun, but they're also opportunities to keep your network expanding and current.
• Rely on evidence and not hearsay to determine your direction. Pay attention to what's working and what's not in your search, and adjust your strategy.
• Let myths about lack of hiring during the holiday season lull you into sitting around.
• Take others' opinions literally. In an effort to be comforting, people may say things like, "There are no jobs out there — especially now." Remember, you only need one job, and hiring happens all the time.
• Stop. This is a process that takes preparation, persistence, patience and courage. Keep at it.
• Expect instantaneous results. Most job seekers find that they have to lay the foundation before very much happens. So it might feel as if you're working really hard without any results, but very often this changes quickly.