When the Holidays Become the Best Time to Job Search

A few months back I wrote a blog citing summer as the best time to job search. After further researching numbers provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, I’ve concluded summer is probably the second best time of year. The first best time? Well, we’re looking at it right now as we head into the end of year holiday season. If anything, this time of year offers the optimal time to meet people who can best help you in your search.

Unfortunately, many job hunters take the view that companies won’t be actively recruiting at the end of the year. While it’s not unusual for companies to scale back their hiring at this time, it doesn’t slow down their search for new talent. Since the period following New Year’s is often the highest hiring period, companies are actively sourcing candidates at this time.

Why does this time of year become so important to job searching? During the holiday season many hiring managers are traveling less, attending fewer meetings, and generally kicking back and relaxing from the yearly grind. What better time to reach out to them for a networking meeting when they’re more likely to spend time with you? Also, most job hunters take the attitude that since not much is happening at this time, and put their search on hold, you have less competition for people's attention.

Making the Best of Those Year End Parties

Another factor to consider is many companies are figuring out their hiring budgets for the New Year, or anxiously trying to fill open jobs before year end. As a corporate recruiter I once worked with a hiring manager who was so desperate to fill an open job before he lost it to budget cuts he asked me to send him whatever applicants I had, regardless of their less than stellar qualifications. The crazy thing is he actually hired someone from that group, so think about how good your chances might be if still in the hunt at year end!

You notice I have not mentioned anything about reaching out to companies regarding specific job openings. Of course, if there is a job posting that appears to have your name on it, by all means go through the application process. I would encourage you, however, to still try to network your way into the company, and specifically to the hiring manager. Again, less competition for that manager’s attention.

The important thing is to get out and meet people during this period who can be helpful to you in your job search. Attend as many end of year holiday parties or networking events that you can fit into your otherwise busy schedule. It doesn’t matter if people you meet know of an open job that’s appropriate for you. More importantly they may know someone who does, or someone who could be a great referral to others of influence in getting you closer to a real job.

Research also shows that most job offers come through networking. So, in the weeks ahead enjoy the holidays, but most importantly have that next latte (or hot organic Chai tea if that’s your preference) with someone who will appreciate your job search efforts. You never know who may be at the next holiday party!

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