If you’re hoping to find a new job under the tree this year but think that the holiday season is not a good time for good boys and girls to look for work, you really need to think again. According to Charles Purdy of Monster.com, holiday time “‘Tis the Season for Your Job Search.”
How come? As Mr. Purdy explains, “at the end of the year, some companies rush to fill job openings that might otherwise be removed from next year’s budgets.” This is indeed excellent news. You could nab a job right now, and keep that job all the way to Jan. 1 when the new budget kicks in, and you get kicked out. Two weeks of work are better than none, and if you diligently spend your short time on the job pilfering office supplies to sell on eBay, you could sock away enough laptop computers and printer cartridges to last all the way to Easter.
Another person who thinks the holiday season is a prime season for job hunters is executive coach Roy Cohen. Cohen believes that “when other people take off from their job searching during the holidays, you’re at an advantage should an opportunity surface.”
This makes excellent sense. The fewer the applicants, the better you look. In fact, try to make your next interview appointment for midnight on New Year’s Eve, when hardly anyone will be available, and even fewer will be sober. Trust me. After a few dozen celebratory Jell-O shots, you begin to look like a really good candidate.
The New Year’s Eve interview strategy may seem a stretch, but Judi Perkins of FindthePerfectJob.com suggests “you should be prepared to interview at unusual times, to allow for a recruiter’s hiring manager’s busy holiday schedule.” Ideally, you can find out when the interviewer is sitting down to Christmas dinner and just pop in. Even if you don’t get a job, you could get a drumstick.
Taking advantage of the many philanthropic activities that spring up during the holidays is another excellent way to turn the season of giving into a big, fat opportunity for taking. Volunteering can be a great way to network, and, as coach Cohen says, “you’ll meet other volunteers — great people who, by nature, will want to help.”
Just don’t be afraid to take advantage of the situation or the warm feelings that surround selfless acts of charity. For example, every time you distribute a holiday basket of canned goods, throw in a resume. And no matter how heartbreaking the situations of the pitiful wretches you are helping, make sure everyone knows that your personal situation is much worse. “Sure, it’s tough be homeless at Christmas,” you could explain, “but I had cut back to basic cable.”
Taking the place of a vacationing worker could not only produce some extra cash, it could lead to a full-time job. You simply need to make sure the boss realizes that you can do the job better than the poor slob who was foolish enough to take time off. Just be subtle about it. One smooth technique is to ask the supervisor for details on the company’s recycling policy. “That’s very helpful,” you can say. “I’ve been wondering what to do with all the empty gin bottles I’ve found hidden in the filing cabinets.”
Attending holiday parties could be an excellent way to spread the word of your job search, but don’t be a downer. “When you tell people you’re looking for work,” Purdy writes, “also tell them how you’ve been productive with your time off.”
Better yet, show photos. Who wouldn’t offer a job to a person who has spent months of unemployment carving a life size statue of Justin Bieber out of government cheese?
Even if you can’t book a job interview during the holiday season, the experts suggest you “make an appointment with yourself to determine your goals for the coming year.” I agree.
Unfortunately, you will probably be too busy to see yourself, what with your obligation to see “It’s A Wonderful Life” at least 10 times before Santa comes down the chimney. But don’t let yourself put yourself off, and don’t believe the excuses you use for not seeing you.
After you review your goals with yourself, you may be so impressed with you that you are tempted to give you a job. I say, go ahead! After the holidays, you can make another appointment with yourself, and then you can fire your sorry butt.
Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company, but he finally wised up and opened Bob Goldman Financial Planning in Sausalito, California.