The holiday break can seem like the perfect opportunity to pour more time and energy into your job search.
But on the other hand, while it seems like you’ll have plenty of free time without work, the holidays can also be a logistically challenging time of coordinating travel, time with family and friends, and gift gathering. And of course, you may have a harder time getting a response from recruiters and hiring managers during the holidays, since they will be taking time off as well.
Whether you’re thinking about sending a few applications or specifically dedicating a large chunk of time to your job search, it’s important to consider the big picture before you get started applying for jobs.
In a recent Career Warrior Podcast, Let’s Eat, Grandma Co-founder Chris Villanueva broke down the pros and cons of applying during the holiday season. Here’s a summary of what he covered; click the image below to listen to the whole episode.
Challenges of applying for jobs during the holidays
When you apply for jobs during the holiday months, you’re going to encounter a few seasonal challenges.
The main con of applying through this time is that you may not get as many interview invitations or job offers. That’s because the hiring process generally doesn’t move as quickly at the end of the year as it does in the beginning. The end of the year tends to mean fewer workers will be in the office, and your resume may end up pushed to the side until the new year.
Studies show that January and February are the best times to apply in the winter, because folks are shifting back into their work routines. Also, companies might be starting fresh with budgets and planning, so they’re ready to hire new people. Depending on which industry you’re in, waiting until January may be more fruitful than applying in November and December.
Another downside to applying during the holidays is it takes time and energy to apply for jobs, especially if you’re diligently adjusting your resume for each position, as you should be.
This is a lot of work to manage with the pressures of the season. And while you may have the best intentions, when the time comes sending out applications might be the last thing you want to do when held up against the promise of feasts, couch naps, and quality time with loved ones.
If you don’t have the time or energy to fully commit to your job search during the holidays, it’s perfectly valid to take time off, focus on family, and start the new year, strong, well-rested, and refreshed.
You’re not going to have a productive job search if you’re feeling guilty or resentful that you’re not spending time with your loved ones, or tired and frustrated with the stress of balancing all of your obligations.
While using the time off work to be productive could be incredibly beneficial for your career advancement, if you push yourself too hard during the holidays, you might burn yourself out. If you’re applying while burnt out, even if you do get an interview invitation, you may be too exhausted to fully make a good first impression. Or worse, you could hurt your health in the long run.
Considering these factors, you may decide that it’s best to conserve your resources, rest, and wait to ride out the upcoming January hiring wave.
Benefits of applying during the holidays
While there are downsides to consider, there are also pros to applying during the holidays.
One benefit is that you may get new employment by the end of the year, which would be a wonderful gift to yourself and your family!
And depending on the state of your industry, the end of the year may be the perfect time for you to put yourself out there.
While fewer people may be hiring right now, that doesn’t mean that nobody is looking for new recruits. Some companies might have remaining budget to hire before the year ends, making them more motivated to fill positions quickly.
One major argument for applying during the holidays is that because there’ll be fewer people applying, you’ll also have a good chance of standing out among your competitors. Think about all the other people who don’t want to spend time applying during the holidays and are going to wait for the January hiring wave. This gap in applicants could increase the likelihood that you’ll hear back from the jobs that you really want.
Another upside to applying now is that by getting started, even just a little bit, you’ll be able to hit the ground running when the holidays are over. Even if you don’t get a job offer before the end of the year, you’ve set yourself up for success in the next.
What to consider about a holiday job hunt
It’s important to consider how important it is for you to find a new job right now. If it’s highly urgent, it’s best to take advantage of anytime you have off to make the change. Even if your industry doesn’t have a high rate of hiring this time of year, you may get lucky and be just what a hiring manager is looking for right now. You can even reward yourself for sending out applications with seasonal treats.
If you’re thinking about applying for jobs over the holidays, make sure to start getting your resources together now. Request any recommendations, metrics, or clarifications for your resume or cover letter from your colleagues before the office empties out for the season.
Set clear, realistic goals for yourself, and prioritize your mental health and well-being.
How to maximize your holiday season, even if you’re not applying to jobs
Even if you decide not to apply for jobs until after the holidays, you can also use the holiday break from work to get ready for the short spike in January when it’s time to get those applications out. Taking some time now to update your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile will help you hit the ground running in the new year and take a bit of stress off that time.
You can also update your LinkedIn profile and decide if you’re going to change your open to work settings.
Even if you’re not ready to work on your documents yet, if you’re planning to be around family and friends during the holidays, you could have them look over your materials and give you advice. It’s important to identify any gaps in your professional documents, so you can decide how to address them when you’re ready.
Or you can request a free critique from our expert writers. They’ll help you identify ways to update your experience, skills, and professional summary so you can make your move when you’re ready.
And remember, the holiday season is ripe with networking events and social gatherings, which can be great opportunities to make connections that could lead to job offers down the road!
Job searches aren’t easy, especially when you have the pressures of the holiday eating up your spare time. However, if you have the resources, there’s no harm in starting to apply now. Even if you don’t want to pay much attention to your job search during your winter break, taking just one small step forward will help you make a big change in your career.
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