I’ve noticed that the amount of jobs posted online seems to dry up around the holiday season – I know I saw a definite drop in relevant jobs for me over Thanksgiving week. I’m worried that I won’t be able to keep my job search alive during the pending holidays. How can I make the most of this slow time of the year?
– Not a Happy Elf
First of all, the job boards and employment sites like Indeed should not be the number one focus of your job search no matter what time of year it is. While these are helpful for generating leads, they are just one piece of your entire job search strategy. It is true that many employers hold off on posting jobs until January, however, this doesn’t mean that your job search needs to go dormant. Instead, you should be focusing on the other, more valuable aspects of your job search.
Here’s a great checklist to make sure you don’t lose traction for the rest of December…
Update your resume, LinkedIn, and cover letters
Now is the perfect time to update your materials. Styles and tactics change over time, so if you are still using an old resume, be sure to look at it with fresh eyes. Look at more than just the format and appearance. You want to make sure you are pulling the top key words for your profession, based on current job postings.
Did you know that 90% of employers are looking at your LinkedIn profile? Yep. [Source: LinkedIn, 2016.] For this reason alone, make sure you are following the current best practices to optimize your profile and drive more recruiters to it.
When was the last time you reviewed your cover letters? While only 50% of HR departments value the cover letter itself [source: Mile High SHRM survey from Personal Touch Career Services, 2017], it is still a valuable component to your job search. Make sure it is well written and appropriate for your target jobs.
Get involved on LinkedIn
Now that you updated your profile, so what? If nobody knows who you are, they have no reason to reach out to you. You need to build your reputation within your industry.
This can be done two ways: sharing or writing quality content and getting involved in the Groups.
First, if you are a great writer, start publishing articles or blogs on LinkedIn. If you aren’t, you can simply share other relevant articles that you find. Don’t worry – it’s not copyright infringement, as the links always go back to the original article. These can be shared both in your newsfeed and in your Groups.
Speaking of the Groups, when was the last time you got involved in the discussions in your top Groups? This is another way to build your reputation and become associated with helpful opinions on relevant topics for your industry.
Take classes to fill in your knowledge gaps
Are you wondering how to do those steps for your LinkedIn account? Are you missing a vital skill for your target jobs? Now is the perfect time to take a quick class to fill in those gaps and make you a more valuable employee.
I highly recommend checking out www.Udemy.com or other online learning sites. These websites feature literally hundreds of thousands of courses that are self-paced, video-intensive, and subject-specific. To give you an idea of what you can learn, check out my LinkedIn class, “Using LinkedIn to Get a Job Without Going Crazy” https://www.udemy.com/using-linkedin-to-get-a-job/?couponCode=FLYER75
Explore the additional classes offered – everything from Microsoft Word to learning Italian – and focus on those courses that boost your value to the employers.
Get in touch with your current network
The holidays are an ideal time to tap your network on the shoulder and let them know two critical things: one, that you appreciate them; and two, that you are still looking for a position. Notice that the gratitude piece must come first. No one wants to be pumped for job leads in a Christmas card, but taking the time to share a heartfelt note about how you value them can breed more goodwill.
Start researching potential employers in the hidden job market
Believe it or not, jobs posted online on sites like Indeed and LinkedIn only make up a fraction of the available positions. Many are only listed on the company’s website. Not only that, some aren’t listed at all, at least not until the company already has a candidate in mind. Collectively, this is known as the hidden job market.
The secret to landing a hidden job is first and foremost paying attention to what is going on in your industry and local market. Start by picking out some companies that have caught your interest, whether they have a job opening or not. Then conduct systematic research to identify their needs, challenges, key decision makers, and standings in the market. Track them with Google Alerts to see the latest news – often times, a relevant news article can be turned into an excuse to reach out to managers and offer your services as a potential employee.
Implement structured networking
Chances are that you have heard the rumor: up to 80% of jobs are found by networking. This is true to some extent, as networking includes everything from contacting a hiring manager for a posted job to Aunt Martha saw a job on Indeed and forwarded it to you.
Structured networking is similar to researching potential employers in the hidden job market, but instead of hunting companies, you want to identify people. Don’t look at just the key managers. Look for potential co-workers or contractors that can tell you more about the company and their culture. Thanks to such tools as LinkedIn, conducting structured networking is easier than ever before, once you learn the tricks.
Spread some joy
Most of all, take some time for yourself this holiday season. Enjoy time with your family and friends. Eat that cookie and drink some egg nog. Along the way, reflect on all the positive things that happened this year and be grateful, no matter how small. After all, a light heart is very attractive – especially to employers.
And have a cool Yule!
Got a question for Donna? Just email your question to firstname.lastname@example.org
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