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December 10, 2008

Proper Job Search Etiquette Starts During the Holidays – Part I

Over the holidays I have heard it’s time to shut down your search. Why? The refrain from recruiters seems to be we are hiring after the first of the year. In this market let everyone else shut down. You shouldn’t.

How would you like to wake up on the morning of January 2 with a solid job offer in hand, while the rest of the job seekers are just getting started on their search? Do you think it’s too late for that? If so, you’re almost right. But if you get started immediately, you can get your foot squarely in the door while everyone else is out shopping, drinking egg nog or worse yet, lamenting the layoffs, the Stock Market and whatever doom and gloom news that gets circulated. Contrary to the popular refrain, the holidays are a golden time to look for a job, and a number of opportunities will be gone if you wait until after the New Year.

But attitude means just about everything too. This is true if you are working or if you’ve been laid off and are seeking new opportunities. Remember that for most job seekers it’s bad etiquette to appear desperate or needy to any contact or employers. Wendy Calson, an executive in transition says, When I stopped acting so needy and pestering people for employment opportunites and just found out employers needs and ways to fill them, my search style yielded more return emails and phone calls. Consider adopting this holiday attitude and core commitment it’s never too early to develop a positive relationship, renew relationships or build new ones. Matt Zelman, an independent executive recruiter confirms, Most job seekers during the holidays come across anxious, upset and glum. I don’t want to hire or consider them based on their bad attitude. So change your attitude before the holidays are over. Focus on developing new relationships, and starting and keeping outstanding communication habits.

Perhaps it is true that timing is everything, and at any given time of the year, a window of opportunity opens and closes. How do you know the holidays won’t open the key relationship, contact or online/ offline lead that results in an interview for you?

In fact, the year-end crunch may offer significantly more opportunities than other times of the year depending on your industry, where you are looking and hiring trends. Recruiter Matt Zelman notes, You hear the headlines of layoffs, but there is a but here. But…hiring managers are often under pressure to fill job requisitions by the end of the year, knowing that their window will close after the first of the year. Companies may have an overt freeze that will cease. Recruiters, like other salespeople, are under pressure to fill their quotas. So are you developing relationships with key hiring managers or just demonstrating through email, online and offline networking how frustrated you are? Now is the time to stay connected, in touch and focused!

If you look at the kind of group think that is out there, what do you suppose most job seekers are doing or saying? Ask them. Most job seekers have already called it quits for the year, resolving to get serious about looking for a job after the holidays. Media facts back them up. Read any headline: X Company Announces Layoffs. Who could argue with the headlines? So my advice? Stop looking at the macro headlines. It’s the micro-economy that matters. Yours!

When the masses of job seekers back off it’s an opportunity. This narrows the playing field considerably, and it increases the amount of pressure on hiring managers who know that they need to fill positions during December. Also, most people who are out looking for jobs are easily discouraged by the holiday slowdown myth. If you have a solid plan of attack, you can keep your head above the water and attract people to you. This will give you an advantage over the majority of other job seekers. So, the time to hit the job market is now.

However, to pull this off, you must effectively invest your time. Continue to customize your resumes versus spraying resumes everywhere. You will need to hone in and narrow your focus to the particular types of employers most likely to urgently need you. Link to them. Develop relationships. Dialogue with them. You’ll also need to find a back door, or a quick avenue to accessing a decision maker directly. And you had better have something to say that helps them accomplish their goals. Finally, you’ll need a way to find out about advertised and perhaps even under-advertised job vacancies.Images1

2 Responses to “Proper Job Search Etiquette Starts During the Holidays – Part I”

  1. December 30, 2008 at 3:43 pm, Dave Baldwin said:

    One of my best job opportunities was one that I landed during the holidays. I specifically remember the conversation; I was told that the company was going into a hiring freeze starting on January 1, and needed to have the requisition filled before that.
    People think that the job market “slows down” during the holidays simply because THEY slow down.

  2. March 26, 2009 at 2:19 pm, Internet Marketing Raleigh said:

    Makes sense, Keep searching and submitting while others are relaxing and taking it easy. This information and suggestion applies during a recession too! Career Pro or John’s advice needs to be applied today.

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