The Holiday Job Hunting Season

  • Article by: KEVIN DONLIN , Star Tribune Sales and Marketing
  • Updated: April 9, 2008 - 11:15 AM

Today, there are plenty of jobs to be had between Thanksgiving and the middle of January, according to one human resource expert. This is due, in part, to the global talent shortage, which has made it harder for employers to attract top talent.

Kevin Donlin

Photo: Jamie Hutt, StarTribune.com

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The conventional job-search wisdom used to be that, if you weren't hired by late October, you were out of luck until after the first of the year.

But times have changed.

Today, there are plenty of jobs to be had between Thanksgiving and the middle of January, according to human resource expert Susan M. Heathfield. "During the holiday season, you enjoy reduced competition for jobs and easier access to decision makers who are actually in the office," says Heathfield.

This is due, in part, to the global talent shortage, which has made it harder for employers to attract top talent. "If good candidates show up during the holiday season, we're finding that management will take the time to see them. In the past, they might have told them to come back in January," says Michael Jalbert, President of executive search firm MRINetwork.

Jalbert gives three reasons not to slack off in your job search during the holidays:

1) Departments are often under pressure to fill openings before year's end to secure their remaining budget and headcount allocations.

2) While the number of advertised positions tends to decrease during the holidays, those that do appear are often high-priority jobs that must be filled quickly.

3) You will likely face less competition because many other job seekers have taken a break from their search.

With this in mind, here are two ways to connect with your next job during the holiday season ...

1) Party with a Plan

There are more parties and social events during the holidays than usual, which means more opportunities for you to make new contacts and renew old ones.

Since you never know which conversation will produce your next job lead, you should attend as many events as you can reasonably fit into your calendar, according to Heathfield.

"You don't want to be obnoxious about your job search and aggravate friends and relatives. But, do prepare a brief statement that tells people you are looking for a job and the kind of job you seek," suggests Heathfield.

Carry business cards, along with paper and a pen for taking notes. After every networking conversation, jot down the key points, then enter them into some kind of database at the end of the evening, for follow-up later. Whether it's a box of 3x5 cards or a $500 PDA, use whatever tools you need to manage your networking contacts.

2) Send a Card with a Difference

We all get greeting cards in December. For most of us, the charm wears off after about the first 20 or so. That means, if you hope to stand out by sending a holiday card to hiring managers and other folks who are inundated with mail, you probably won't.

So, why not send a Happy New Year's card instead? After all, when's the last time you got one of those in the mail?

Send your new year's cards on December 31, to arrive on or about January 2. Send them to hiring managers and well-connected friends. And use real cards, like those sold at www.Hallmark.com, with real stamps. Because emailing a greeting card is about as effective as emailing a steak sandwich.


One final bit of encouragement for job seekers: some industry sectors could see an up-tick in hiring in December, according to Jalbert. "Construction companies in Southern California, for example, are just starting to staff up to rebuild the $1.5 billion in homes that were destroyed in this summer's fires," he says.

Jalbert also sees strong demand for such fields as chemical and mechanical engineering, and information technology, as the U.S. dollar continues to drop, causing jobs from Europe and Canada to filter into the United States.

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Kevin Donlin