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Job searching during the holiday season can make even the most enthusiastic job seeker suffer a lack of Christmas spirit. Everyone is occupied with year-end tasks, holiday parties, family duties and community events. Hiring seems to slow down, and employers are suddenly too busy to even glance at a resume. But job seekers still need a job, and fast! How do they approach a job search when everyone else is focused on the holidays?

Read on for tips that job seekers and career coaches can use during those difficult winter job hunts. With a little grit and some new strategies a job seeker can secure employment by the new year.


Stay merry

The first step is a positive attitude, so keep jolly. Job seekers should continue to get out of the house and spend time with friends, families and other colleagues and acquaintances, even if their mood has them feeling more like Scrooge than Santa. Getting out provides opportunities for networking, and time to recharge and unwind before diving into the next round of resumes and interviews.

Demeanor, mood and attitude can show during networking events, phone calls, interviews and even in cover letters. Keep spirits high and employers will notice the energy and enthusiasm. Stay patient and remember that hiring managers may be less available or a little slow to respond because of the holidays.

Taking breaks from the job search for socializing and other excursions provides more chances to encounter new job leads or discover new directions to pursue.


Spruce up the resume

No one resume is perfect for all jobs. If a job seeker has been sending the same resume to everyone, they likely aren’t getting as many responses as they could.

Don’t sugarcoat it, but take time to tailor a resume for the specific job by highlighting more relevant accomplishments, responsibilities, and positions. For example, that summer job as a lifeguard may not be as relevant for a management position at a retail store, but may be a plus when applying for a job at a local gym.

Don’t forget the letter! Children write letters to Santa explaining how they’ve been good and deserve gifts. Job seekers need to write similar letters, highlighting their qualities (specifically those that match the job description) and explaining why they are deserving of the available position. Don’t forget to follow up interviews with thank you letters.


Make a list and check it twice

This can be approached in a few ways, but essentially, people are more likely to complete tasks if those tasks are written down. Write down job seeking tasks to be completed and check them off for that feeling of productivity and satisfaction. Tracking progress serves as a reminder of how much work is being accomplished, even if the job offers aren’t coming in yet. Lists also keep job seekers focused, ensuring they complete their tasks before attending the next holiday party or going Christmas shopping.

Potential lists that may be useful to job seekers include:

  • A list of potential employers to apply to
  • A list of skills to learn
  • A list of tasks to complete

Whatever the list, be sure to check off each action item.


Volunteer some holiday cheer

Volunteer opportunities are abundant during the holidays. Volunteering provides the chance to network, showcase skills and of course, do something good for the local community.


Start resolutions early

Don’t wait for the new year. Start any resolutions now. Make a plan in writing and start within the day. Use a mix of small and large goals to maintain a high level of motivation. Getting a head start on resolutions helps establish them as a habit. Imagine feeling a sense of accomplishment with a kept resolution before the ball drops at midnight.


Pick up holiday work

For job seekers who are currently employed, a seasonal job provides additional income. For those who are unemployed and seeking work, seasonal work is an opportunity to update their resume with a recent job, and in some cases, seasonal work leads to more desirable full time work.

For all job seekers, holiday work provides chances to network with others, both fellow job seekers and those already in more desirable positions. New coworkers, colleagues, clients and customers may provide new leads a job seeker was unaware of.

Seasonal jobs aren’t only in retail stores. Most regions will have seasonal openings in hospitality, food service, packaging and shipping, sales, customer service, and more. There are even work-from-home positions for customer service by phone. These jobs may not be a job seeker’s dream, but they can serve as a paycheck and skill-builder until better opportunities are available. An employee discount may be a bonus perk, too!


How do you approach a job search during a busy holiday season? Let us know in the comments below.

Need more fresh ideas? Check out our 18 Tips for Financial and Career Growth.

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