Why Holidays Can Be the Right Time to Job Search

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Job search during the holidays? Really?

As the holidays approach and a new year looms on the horizon, many people might be tempted to postpone their job search until January is officially here. I know several folks who are in between jobs but have decided to take this month off and begin their job search in earnest after the first of the year. Believe me, I don’t begrudge anyone who might need a break from work and has the means to take the time off. But is that the best move?

Why people stop looking for jobs during the holidays

There are several reasons why people might put off looking for a new job during the holidays. Perhaps the company for which they work offers a holiday or year-end bonus, and they want to make sure they receive that additional compensation. In the same vein, an employer might offer coveted paid time off during the holiday season. Still, others might offer extra pay to ensure the business is adequately staffed and able to meet its goals at a time when many employees are requesting vacation time.

Why you should continue your job search whilst sipping egg nog

In my experience, however, it truly is a myth that employers stop hiring during the holiday season – one that even some recruiters buy into. They claim the hiring process slows down because many people are on vacation making it difficult to schedule interviews and make hiring decisions. Of course, some employers do postpone hiring during the last few months of the year, often because their budgets are spent and new funding doesn’t kick in until the new year. Or maybe they really do have too many people out to be able to focus on hiring. But arguably, that’s no different than the summer months, when people generally take vacations and some fiscal year budget cycles end.

The truth is, that it takes some time to find the right job, so it’s wise for people to start their search before the end of the year. While the process might run a bit slower due to the holidays, initial conversations can still begin. If candidates are offered positions before Dec. 31, it might be possible for them to negotiate a later start date and still receive a bonus or vacation/holiday pay or take time off.

Here are some other reasons for ramping up your job search during the holidays:

  • The holiday season provides many networking opportunities that might lead to a lucrative job offer.
  • Some companies have end-of-year hiring goals and objectives to meet that could provide additional potential for job seekers.
  • Fewer people may be applying for jobs during the busy holiday season, which might provide an advantage for those actively looking.
  • Some employers might actually increase staffing during the holidays. Even if these positions are seasonal and temporary, they could provide an opportunity for the right candidates to get their foot in the door.

Final thoughts

The bottom line is that there’s no reason to wait until the new year to pursue a fresh start. Hiring is a year-round process, and there’s really not a bad time to apply for a job. Job opportunities can arise at any time, and starting a job search during the holidays could help you be on the ground running on Jan. 1, the busiest day for the job boards.

And remember, networking, staying active on professional platforms, consulting with a recruiter, and being prepared to seize opportunities are crucial elements of a successful job search, regardless of the time of year.

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