Ladies and gentlemen, it is officially time for the holidays!! That means hot chocolate, candy canes, cookies, and pine needles EVERYWHERE!
Along with the joy and excitement of this time, I know that the stress can be ginormous. Between family members asking about your job search and the money stretch for all of the presents, the holidays can be just as hectic as they are relaxing.
While it may be true that hiring managers and recruiters are taking time off to be with their families for the holidays, that doesn’t mean that they don’t go back to work ready for eager and hardworking candidates to fill their open positions.
That is exactly why you need to make sure that you are staying ahead of the game when it comes to your job search! Keeping ahead during the holidays will make the rest of your time relaxing and stress-free. Plus, if you get the important stuff out of your way now, your job search will be so much simpler once January rolls around.
Don’t slow down – use your time wisely and follow these steps to get the most out of your holiday break.
If you haven’t already, you really need to start by getting your resume up to speed with the new technology and requirements. Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) is a huge actor in today’s job search tactics and most people don’t even know what that is. ATS is system that scans your resume to figure out if it includes the necessary keywords that the position you applied for requires.
Because of ATS, you NEED to make sure that you include those keywords and phrases that will get you the job. How? By using the exact same ones that are used in the job description! This will ensure that your keywords are picked up by the ATS and your resume won’t be tossed out of the pile.
Another great way to improve your resume is by getting rid of all the extra bits. Photos, graphics, colored font, and wild backgrounds will definitely not do you any favors when it comes to ATS. Make sure your resume is sleek, polished, and professional so that when it comes time to put them through the scanners, they pass with flying colors and are able to equally wow recruiters.
I know that the holidays aren’t really the ideal time for networking as most are on vacation and are storing their career in the deepest part of their mind, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t at least look for them. Try to find people within your career field who can give you some good connections and get you into the interview room.
Now that doesn’t mean go and email them right away – as I said, they probably aren’t giving any thought to their jobs. Instead, make a list of those people who you could potentially contact and start drafting emails and messages to them so that you’re ready when January comes around.
When it comes to your job search, social media can have a major role in whether recruiters can find you or not. You need to make sure that you are professional not only on paper, but also online.
The best way to ensure you have a professional presence online is to get a LinkedIn account – and use it! Over 90% of recruiters use LinkedIn as a primary source for potential candidates, so don’t be the one they miss.
Take some time over the holidays to really make sure that your LinkedIn and Facebook accounts are top notch. Highlight your skills and accomplishments on LinkedIn and make sure you have a professional summary that shows how you would make a great addition to any team. Oh, and don’t forget to add in your new and improved resume!
There is no doubt that you’ll be asked for references during your job search – having all of them ready will make your life so much easier when that time comes! Spend some of your down time this season making a list of potential references and then shoot each of them a short email or message asking if they’d be willing to be your reference. If so, make sure that all of your contact info for them is up to date so there’s no mix up. Once they agree, add them to your reference sheet and move on to the next part of your job search!
No, really! I know that parting probably isn’t on your list of the most important things to do for your job search, but hear me out.
Attending your office holiday parties and seeing if you can tag along with your friends and family to theirs too can add so many great resources to your search. Holiday parties are such a great way to start networking in person. Maybe throw out that you’re job searching every few conversations and see what kind of opportunities pop up. Meet potential employers and get on their good side – sometimes it’s all about who you know.
While you can leave off things like sending out your resume and cover letter from your holiday to-do list, these few things are extremely crucial in order to get ahead in your career. Take time this holiday season to really focus on building your professional presence both online and off and work on improving your job search resources – you won’t regret it.