The holiday season is known for melting away the winter blues – with people from all over the world using the month of December to re-energize and spend time with family and friends. But what isn’t always globally acknowledged is that the most wonderful time of the year is also a strategic time of the year to advance your job search.
For some job seekers, however, turkey time can take away from the down time needed to search for, and apply to, the next great opportunity.
If you want to jingle all the way to a new contract in the new year, take these tips into consideration to carve out the application time you need – before you start carving the turkey!
Make a list and check it twice! Before you begin your job search, develop a system that works best for you in organizing your efforts. A simple spreadsheet works great. Use it to keep track of the jobs you’ve applied for, where you have been invited to interview and the status of your applications.
Set weekly application goals
Keep job search momentum going by setting a weekly application goal. A good target to aim for is applying to roughly 10-15 positions per week. This means sending out 2-3 tailored resumes each business day. Ensure to also evaluate your efforts, so you know what’s working and what’s not during your job search. This way, you’re also learning from the application process.
Determine how much time you can spend
This will depend a lot on your current employment situation, family needs, holiday gatherings and other factors in your life. Whatever your situation, establish how much time you aim to spend on job searching each day. Whether it’s twenty minutes a day, or several hours, ensure to set an achievable goal and stick with it.
Set a schedule and stick to it
If you’re currently employed, this tip is especially important. Create a schedule for your day and apply to positions during a set period. Sticking to your schedule through the chaos that can be Christmas will help you engage more productively.
Add LinkedIn to your daily routine
Make it a habit to log into LinkedIn for just a few minutes every morning before getting started on other job search tasks you’ve scheduled. Use the search tools to look for potential connections, interactions and new brands to follow. Add 20 minutes to each day to catch up on content that’s relevant to the type of career or industry you’re interested in.
Create a home or remote workspace
Searching for - and applying to – jobs requires focus. Each application will require a tailored resume and personal approach, so it’s important to have a quiet space where you can work uninterrupted. Whether it’s a separate room at home set away from the carols and wrapping or a space at Starbucks, create a space that works for you.
Say no to distractions
There are so many distractions when you’re looking for a job- especially over the holidays. Hallmark movies, Amazon and social media can clamor for your attention, but learning to disconnect can save you big when it comes to accruing extra job search time. Focus your efforts on finding a job —and save the online shopping for later!
How do you work best? Some job seekers can spend hours searching for their next opportunity while others are more effective in short bursts throughout the day. For example, if you're the latter type of job seeker, set a 30-minute timer whenever you have a task and limit yourself to that period.
Prioritize your tasks and don’t confuse productive with busy
Jo searches can feel like everything is urgent and has to be completed ASAP- especially during this busy season, but that isn’t true! While there are some tasks that take priority over others (returning the call of an employer who wants to schedule an interview, for instance), many others can wait.
It’s important to ensure you’re spending your time wisely, taking on tasks that will bring real results—like practicing your interview skills or making sure you know how to use video conferencing in case an organization requests a video interview instead of scanning your email every hour to see if any potentials employer wrote you back.
Use holiday parties as networking opportunities
Real life networking is still a valuable tool, allowing job seekers to make tangible connections that adds that extra in-person touch. Use holiday parties to let friends,family and co-workers know you're interested in new opportunities.
Whether you’re home for the holidays or on a family vacation, these time management tips are your ticket to getting a contract for Christmas.