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How to find a job over the holidays

3 min read


It’s a myth that no one finds a job over the holidays, but you may have to change your approach, says HR expert  Laurie Ruettimann. I recently spoke with Laurie about why it isn’t a good idea to put your job search on hold until after New Year’s.

Does hiring really come to a halt between Thanksgiving and New Year’s?

Hiring doesn’t necessarily come to a halt between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, but the perception that it comes to a halt affects the hiring process. Unfortunately, too many people put off the job search until the first of the year because they assume that no one makes big decisions around the holidays. Hiring managers lose a sense of urgency because they fear that all the good candidates have stopped looking to focus on the holiday season. In the end, positions remain unfilled.

What’s your best advice for people who will be looking for work this holiday season after a long stretch of unemployment?

Looking for a job is tremendously stressful and time-consuming. The holidays add an additional layer of stress because you’ll see extended family members who will inevitably ask, “How’s the job search going?” It’s hard to stay sane and focused during the holidays under the best of circumstances, and it’s even harder when you are broke and your family wants to give you unsolicited job search advice in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner. My best advice? Go easy on yourself. Prepare yourself for tremendously awful career advice from your aunts, cousins, and in-laws. Learn to filter out the noise and stay focused on your job search. After all, looking for a job is a full-time job and you can’t let yourself get distracted by family drama.

What if the challenge is a lack of time, not a lack of jobs? For some people, the holidays represent a nonstop personal to-do list of shopping and family events. How do you balance those demands with the need to get out there and network and interview?

I think that the recession presents us with a unique opportunity to opt-out of a consumer-driven lifestyle. Now is the time to push back and stop shopping for toys and consumer electronics you don’t really need and you can’t afford. It doesn’t cost any money to spend time with our families, connect with extended relatives and reconnect with our core values. And you can decline to attend holiday parties and family events by using a “fake” holiday networking event as an excuse. Don’t want to drive to your cousin’s house for a gift exchange? You need to attend the local Rotary Club’s holiday event to meet potential employers.

Believe me, it works like a charm.

To learn more key tips and actionable steps for developing your career from Laurie Ruettimann, as well as recruiters from major employers such as Starbucks, Facebook, and Microsoft, sign up for the Career Summit today! (SmartBrief is a partner in this event.)

Image credit, PinkTag, via iStock