Wednesday, November 11, 2009

How to Handle the Holidays When you are in a Job Search

I heard recently that there are less than 45 days until Christmas and less than 55 days until the New Year. Where did the time go? For those in a job search, thinking about the holidays can be depressing. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be; you can use this time to take your job search to a whole new level.

Let’s start developing that plan:

1)Be reasonable with holiday spending. Being reasonable with holiday spending is great advice for everyone regardless of employment status; almost everyone wants sanity to return to the money we spend during this time of year, they just don’t want to be the first to say it. The holidays truly should be about being with family and friends and remembering the reason for the season.

This year, instead of giving multiple gifts to everyone, limit it to one gift per person and keep that gift reasonably priced. Another great approach to keep the spending down is to have all family members put their names into a bowl and have each person draw a name of the family member to get a gift for. That way each person is responsible for only buying one gift. If you draw your own name, you can either put it back and draw another or keep it and get exactly what you want.

2)Keep going. Employers may be slowing down their hiring process a bit during this time because of all of the holiday events and vacations. It does not mean they have halted hiring all together. Keeping your search active during this time may get you in the door when other job seekers have slowed down or stopped.

3)Make sure your attitude is good. The majority of people are out of work at no fault of their own. It feels personal – it’s not though. It is part of the new job market; all of us will be changing jobs more frequently than in years past. If you are still down emotionally or angry about being unemployed, read or re-read the book Who Moved My Cheese. It is a very thin book and a quick but powerful read. Realize the cheese has moved; the rules have changed. We may not like the new reality and we don’t have to like it; we just have to adapt.

Look at and appreciate the small things. Your child’s smile, sunshine, the first snowflake of the season, the ornaments on the tree, holiday lights at night, each of these can make your day if you let them.

4)Make the most of parties. At the various parties, you may be seeing people you haven’t seen in a while and meeting new people. Spend time asking them about them. Listen to what they have to say, they may say something that can help you.

When asked what you do or what you have been doing, it’s the perfect time to bring out your elevator pitch. Do not say you are unemployed. You have a full time job and it is looking for your next assignment. Reply: “I’m looking for a new opportunity as for . Do you know anyone who works or has worked at ?” If they have a contact or lead, make an agreement to meet up in a few days to talk and then get back to enjoying the party. In the next day or so, contact and meet them as agreed.

5)Continue to network. Hopefully you have already heard that only 15% of the available jobs are posted on the on-line job boards. Only 10% or less of all job seekers find a job by replying to ads. Use this time to expand your network by attending industry networking events.

When you are at a network event, use a tip from professional networkers: approach someone who is standing alone and ask about him / her. Invite someone else who is standing alone to join the two of you and introduce the person you just met. Get their business cards so you can invite them to Link In with you and meet up with them later to see how you can help each other. You may think you have nothing to offer them but people are always looking for leads and you may know someone who is a great lead for them.

6)A plan if things get slow. If activities start to slow, go back and inventory (write down) your skills, abilities, interests, values, and prior accomplishments. These are what will help you stand out from your competition.
Develop your answers to the various behavioral interview questions you may be asked. Remember those questions you hope you are not asked? Consult a professional or job networking volunteer to help you word and practice your responses so you are prepared.

7)Realize that this is temporary. No matter how bad it seems now, it is temporary. Think back to another time when you faced a major obstacle you thought you would not get passed. You did though, right?

8)There are people who really care about YOU. If you need help to stay positive, let people know or seek professional help. There are free resources available to help you if you need it.

9)Set goals. Make a list of goals for the next few months and work toward them and celebrate your successes.

Having a plan of what to do during this time to further your job search will give you a sense of accomplishment and help you survive or even enjoy the holidays even more.

1 comment:

  1. Good article ... and agreed the holidays are not the time to take your foot off the gas ... business may slow down, but that means greater access to people, less business travel means better availability of people, and with the holiday "spirit" in the air it's a great time to make contacts.