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Ask Brian – Job Search During the Holidays?

November 29th, 2007 · 17 Comments

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Reader Rebecca from Virginia writes:

“Several people are telling me that I should put my job search off until the new year. They say no hiring gets done around the holidays. But I can’t wait a month for monetary reasons. Is this true?”

Brian answers after the break…

Brian sayz:

It’s true that hiring slows down during the holidays. Think about it, all work kind of slows down this time of year. This is equally true, by the way, for job searching in general. December has always been the slowest month at I guess people have other things on their mind this time of year and they put off certain activities until they have more time to focus.

However, the end of the year can be a great time to job search for several reasons:

  • January is the busiest month for hiring and job searching. If you begin the process now, you can get in ahead of the rush.
  • The holidays are a great time to network. Think of all the office parties and holiday parties in general you’re going to attend. This is probably the most social time of year for interacting with big groups of co-workers and friends. Use this time wisely to get your name and job search goals out there.
  • The holiday season is a key time for temporary workers. If you need a job now because you need money fast, consider temping. In certain industries, temp jobs are plentiful, and you never know, it could always turn into something permanent.
  • Even if there are less jobs posted this time of year, the ones that are posted are probably sorely needed, high priority positions. If, like you, the employer can’t wait until the new year to fill a vacancy, that probably means you can get hired right away.
  • Even if you have a hard time scheduling an interview in December, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get on the schedule. If you can line up an interview for your dream job now, don’t sweat about waiting a month. A scheduled interview is better than nothing.

In short, I admit that December is the toughest month for job search. But for Peet’s sake, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try! In fact, for all the reasons listed above, job searching during the holidays can be to your advantage strategically. While everyone else is slacking off, you can be kicking your job search into high gear.

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Related posts:

  1. Ask Brian- Advice For an Overqualified Job Candidate
  2. Ask Brian – What is the Difference Between a CV and a Resume?

Tags: Ask Brian · Job Search

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  • Willy

    It’s interesting, job search traffic plummets between Thanksgiving and Christmas to it’s lowest point of the year, but then starts on a huge upward trend between Christmas and New Year’s, where it reaches its highest point of the year. So the low and the high for the year happen in the same week, which is really intriguing. I wrote a post on this phenomenon at

    I think job seekers should probably stick it out through the holidays, and it might even be a good time to get your resume out. That way it will be at the top of the pile when recruiters resume hiring in January. The problem is that a lot of the time there won’t be a lot of job openings to apply for.

    You do a great job of analyzing the situation and I think your advice to keep on truckin’ is really good.

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  • Adam

    I’ve actually had great luck job searching during the holidays. I really feel like it’s a case of, there’s less competition.

  • beth

    every time ive taken a temp job, i went on to get hired full time. last time was last christmas.

  • Mike Thomas

    I agree that the Holiday Season is a gold rush for job seekers (as I wrote on The Daily Machete: Many companies run their fiscal years concurrent with the calendar year. That means a lot of interviewing will be done now so they can bring new employees on board in January when they have a fresh batch of funds. Put the pedal to the metal, friends! There’s jobs to be gotten!

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  • MN Headhunter/Paul DeBettignies

    Of course this is a good time of year to find a job. Some companies have hiring budgets to use up or lose, others will hire in a month and you have already introduced yourself.

    Some HR and hiring managers may be difficult to find, end of year meetings, but they likely have time to speak and/or meet with you.

    Do the opposite of what others are doing and you will get noticed.

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  • Laguna

    Ну, как сказать, понравилось конечно:) Хотя я все равно практически ничего не понял. :)

  • БaкинcкийПиpoг

    Интересно! Хотелось бы побольше точно таких же заниматльных сообщений

  • Jim Edwards

    Holiday Job Hunting: Fact & Fiction

    The Quiz & Answers

    Please indicate “Fact” or “Fiction” for each of the statements below.

    1. There is less competition for jobs in December.

    Fact. Competition for positions is greatly reduced because of the prevailing belief that employers don’t
    hire in December. Most of your competitors will not be looking for a job this month but look out in
    January! Many job seekers get offers they wouldn’t ordinarily get by looking in December.

    2. There are only a few positions open in December.

    Fiction. For most companies, next year’s budget is already approved. Hiring managers either want to
    start the year with full staff or have requisitions for positions that begin immediately after the New
    Year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics surveys show no pattern of a drop-off in permanent hires at year-
    end. In fact, most companies have the same number of openings at year-end as they do the rest of the
    year but they have fewer candidates. There may also be pressure to exhaust this year’s hiring budget.

    3. January is the strongest hiring month of the year.

    Fact. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, January is the strongest hiring month of the year.
    Remember, it’s the legwork done in November and December that puts job seekers in a better position
    to snag the first-of-the-year positions.

    4. Hiring managers are too busy during the holidays to do interviews.

    Fiction. Fewer business trips and daylong meetings take place in December making it easier to reach
    decision makers. Most managers have reached their goals and are at their desks planning for the New
    Year. Managers could also have tips of positions that will open after the first of the year.

    5. Calls to potential employers are not welcome during the holidays.

    Fiction. For most of the year, managers strive to screen the tide of job hunters coming their way. At
    year-end, however, that tide has thinned and hiring managers are in a more giving mood. The best time
    to call is first thing in the morning and late afternoon. By mid-day they are likely to be roaming the
    halls or taking longer lunch breaks.

    6. Holiday parties are great places to get job leads.

    Fact. Of course, you have to have your strategy well planned. Collect your holiday presents early by
    requesting job leads and referrals from your friends. Be company and department specific in your
    request naming your target company and the specific department. Get names, numbers, and permission
    to mention your contact’s name in the initial call. Appearing desperate is a downer for everybody.
    Engage in some relaxed conversation about job openings.

    Make appointments with willing friends and acquaintances for coffee or other short social meetings to
    discuss your search. Have your 90-second commercial ready along with a 60 second description of
    your ideal job. (See the “Tools” handout for more information.)

    7. Sending Holiday greeting cards is a waste of time.

    Fiction. Use your holiday cards to update friends, associates, and family on your current status. An
    upbeat note in the card will start your phone ringing. Expanding your list of card recipients will put
    your name in front of more people, possibly some that you will see at holiday parties.

    8. December is a good month to take time off from a job search.

    Fiction. The prevailing concept is that companies don’t hire during the holidays. Fact: they do!!
    Taking yourself out of the game shrinks the pool of candidates and gives someone else the edge.

    9. Traveling during the holidays stops a job search.

    Fiction. Okay, it’s a trick question. If you are already interviewing with a prospective employer, taking
    a trip is a great reason to call the hiring manager with your contact information. Another possibility is
    that your travels may take you to one of your target locations. How about calling potential employers
    ahead of time to set up visits?

    10. Taking a temporary holiday job is a bad idea.

    Fact & Fiction. Taking a temp job to fill the dwindling coffers could be necessary. Selecting that job is
    important. Many retail jobs will end after the rush and you’ve taken yourself off of the market at a
    critical time. Temp jobs with companies that are on your hit list or if the work closely matches your
    preferences and skills could be a great idea. Companies are hiring “temp to perm” more often these

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