12/11/11 - Is Job Seeking Pointless During the Holidays?
By Anita Bruzzese, Posted on December 8th, 2011
Many job seekers believe it makes no sense to keep searching for work during the holiday season because everyone is taking time off and work slows down. That means that no one will be at a company to interview you or make a decision about your application, right?
In fact, you may not again be rewarded with such a golden job opportunity for another year.
• During December, many bosses allow workers to take time off, but managers stick around to cover for them. While this may seem very benevolent, it’s also true that many managers like the peace and quiet that comes when most of the staff is away. They look forward to getting some work done and their desks cleaned off.
• Without being jammed by the daily demands of a full staff, bosses often have more free time to talk to job seekers on the phone or meet with them in person.
• It’s the season of good will. Without being conscious of the fact, many managers are feeling more open to helping the less fortunate – like the person seeking a job.
• They’re ready to go around human resources. Presented with a good job candidate, the manager may decide it’s time to fill a spot without waiting for human resources to wade through hundreds of applications after the holidays. If the manager makes a hire before the end of the year, that person can be on board and ready to start Jan. 1. This only makes a manager’s life easier.
• Managers are getting nervous. The latest unemployment figures ticked the jobless average down to 8.6 percent, consumer spending is jumping and there seems to be more optimism that the economy may be on the mend. Competition for top talent is already heating up, and bosses know that means employee turnover may hit them like a ton of bricks next year. They’re in the market to make some hires and may consider doing it during the holidays when they have the time.
So how do you make the most of a holiday job search?
1. Do your homework. Use LinkedIn, Google and a wigi board if necessary to find out the name of the manager at a company where you’ve applied. Without human resources to run interference (because most of them are on vacation), you may be able to phone him or her directly. Consider dropping by the office to cha and drop off a resume.
2. Rely on inexperience. Usually the newest employees are left to work the holiday shifts, so they may be at the front desk or answering phones. It’s easier to gain access to the boss if you put on a professional front and act as if it’s perfectly normal to be calling the boss. Plus, you may be able to chat up new employees and gain information – they know what it feels like to be looking for work and may be willing to help.
3. Show energy. At a time when other job seekers may be slowing down, show the manager how you’re ramping it up because you understand businesses have needs 24/7. You’re not home drinking eggnog and watching 24 hours of “A Christmas Story” – you’re making your pitch for a job and are ready to hit the ground running.
4. Glean information from the company website. Sometimes employees will post information early on a company website – such as a job opening – because they need to get it done before they take time off for the holidays. If you’re diligent you may the first to discover a position and take the above action to get the job before anyone else.
Just remember: The job seeker who pulls out all the stops when everyone else is slacking off may be the one that Santa delivers with a job this year.
About Anita Bruzzese
Anita Bruzzese is a syndicated columnist for Gannett/USA Today on workplace issues and the author of “45 Things You Do That Drive Your Boss Crazy.” She has been on the Today show, and quoted in publications such as O, The Oprah Magazine, Glamour, Self.com and BusinessWeek.com. Her website, 45things.com, is listed on the Forbes top 100 websites for women.