While the holidays are about fun, family, and enjoying special activities - they're also a great time to rework your career strategy. Instead of waiting until after the new year, take advantage of this time to get ahead of the candidate competition and make the most of your job search for the coming year.

Contrary to popular belief, the holidays can be one of the most lucrative times for job seekers. In fact, 50% of new employees come from seasonal hires. Moreover, many companies begin recruiting to fill positions that will be opening in the new year. Getting your name in there now will give you an advantage over those who apply later on.

Companies begin recruiting to fill positions that will be opening in the new year. Getting your name in there now will give you an advantage over those who apply later on. @NidaSea #SmartTalkHR @RiseSmart https://bit.ly/2zUx7NS

Whether you’re looking for a new job, a new career, or you’re just curious about moving up in your industry, the tips below can help you update your career strategy during the holiday season.

Related content: 6 Ideas for Job Searching During the Holidays

Tip #1: Boost your social media

There’s no better time to refresh or update your social media than during the holidays. This is the time of year when people start taking more time off, which gives you ample time to work on your social media presence.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with cleaning up your social media pages. But, there are just a few simple, key rules that you need to follow to brush it up.

  1. Remove any college drinking photos, silly family pictures, or anything that isn’t professional and/or unsafe to share with work.
  2. If you don’t have a separate professional social media account, make specific content private.
  3. Express your interest in a company or industry by sharing and commenting on industry-related content.

Related content: How Your Social Profile Can Help Build Your Professional Brand

Tip #2: Pursue your professional development

You may feel unqualified for specific positions you’d like to try. Taking courses is one way to enhance your knowledge and to get a feel for the types of work you may be doing if you pursue the vocation. The holiday season is a great time to take a new course to boost your leadership, technical, or communication skills and can give you an edge in your career strategy.

There are so many online platforms offering courses that will help you learn and develop new skills. Most well-known places of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) include Lynda.com, Udemy, and Skillshare. These are great platforms to use to take a refresher course or to get introduced into a new skill.

Related content: Which Online Certificate Courses are Credible for Your Career?

For some of the more credible places with legitimate certificates that are recognized by employers, try searching universities who offer online courses such as the University of Phoenix or your local university.

If you don’t feel like taking a course during the holidays, try catching up on those business books instead. Try out some of the books your manager or boss recommends. Often, reading a good business book can help you identify areas where you’d like to improve.

Tip #3: Update your resume

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that maintaining an updated resume is necessary for your career strategy. Add any new skills, certifications, awards, and new jobs to your resume. Keeping your resume updated a few times throughout the year is essential to staying active in your job search. Avoid waiting to update your resume for years at a time, because it’s hard to remember what you did in a year as opposed to a few months.

Related content: Professional Resume Writer or Resume Template?

Your resume is your marketing tool, so don’t only update it, but also adjust it for the type of career you’re pursuing. Once you have a base resume built, you can adjust it to the various jobs you select with these tweaks:

  • Use the proper keywords from relevant job descriptions
  • Update your titles for each job and avoid listing multiple ones
  • Drop off irrelevant work history
  • Give it a thorough look-over, spellcheck, and fix any typos
  • Include real metrics where you can

Tip #4: Keep contacts and networks updated

Using the holidays as an icebreaker to catch up with old networking contacts and making new ones is a great strategy to use. Reach out on LinkedIn or other social media platforms to current networking contacts and catch up. Avoid immediately jumping into job opportunities or open positions. The goal is to make conversation and secure new connections—not to press anyone for a job.

Using the holidays as an icebreaker to catch up with old networking contacts and making new ones is a great strategy to use. @NidaSea #SmartTalkHR @RiseSmart https://bit.ly/2zUx7NS

During this time, there are usually better opportunities for social events, especially during holiday functions. If you’re looking to make new contacts, find local events that are scheduled in your area. If you’re shy, take business cards and hand them out as you make connections. Be genuine when talking to these people - even if it takes time, it’s important to keep building your network. You never know what connections someone has that could be beneficial to you.

#5: Get a seasonal or temporary job

If you’re currently not working, sometimes going for a seasonal job can turn into a permanent one. Most companies hire extra workers for the holiday rush. Some industries hiring during the holiday season include:

  1. Package delivery
  2. Tourism and travel
  3. Food and hospitality
  4. Medical and healthcare

Retail is the largest industry to hire during the holidays. They often bring on a surplus of employees to help with the increased number of customers and resulting additional sales.

A seasonal job is a great way to make some extra cash towards the end of the year. Moreover, it’s also a good way to learn about a new industry or help improve your customer service skills. While most of these opportunities are seasonal or temporary, if you impress a manager or supervisor well enough, they’ll feel more inclined to hire you permanently.

Tip #6: Be persistent

Sometimes your career strategy may still feel overwhelming, especially with the holidays in full swing. The best thing to do is to remain persistent. There are several ways to do this:

  1. Make a list of the employers/positions that you’re actively targeting
  2. Check in regularly with companies for new openings
  3. Keep track of the applications you’ve made and follow up with employers a week after you’ve submitted your application
  4. Send out ‘Thank You’ emails or letters in the event of a rejection

The holidays usually begin around November, so you have an average of four to eight weeks to update your career strategy for the new year.

Tip #7: Have patience and enjoy the holidays

Like any job search, you must exercise patience. Yes, companies do hire during the holidays (and not only for seasonal work), but also for positions that will open up once the new budget is in place. The season isn’t just about recruiting and hiring, this is also the time of year people want to relax with their families and friends. So, try not to feel anxious if you don’t get a call back immediately or you feel you’re not doing enough to update your career strategy. It takes most employers an average of six weeks to extend an offer, so being patient is key.

Also, don’t forget to relax and enjoy the holidays while you’re adjusting your career strategy. Be with family and friends, and know that once you’ve updated all aspects of your career strategy, you’ll be better prepared for the new year.

14 November 2018

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