A guide to Christmas job-seeking right now may seem a little like a serving of mince pies in August, but Christmas is coming very soon. We’re already in Advent. In two and a half weeks we’ll be in full Yule. Now is the time to work out your festive re-employment strategy. Alternatively, simply follow the instructions below.
December 5th to 21st: Careful networking
The next few weeks are among the best in the year for networking. However, be warned that networking at Christmas is not the same as networking at other times in the year.
“At Christmas, everyone’s at a party to have a good time,” says Gwen Rhys CEO of the company Networking Culture and founder of Women in the City. “You shouldn’t specifically mention that you’re looking for a job unless someone asks you what you’re doing, and in that case you can say you’re looking for a new challenge or a opportunity in the new year,” she adds.
On the off-chance that you do come across someone who may be a route to a job in the Christmas melee, Rhys says not to push it – don’t try and pin that person down, simply ask for their business card and promise to get in touch in January. “Christmas parties are a lot lighter than usual corporate networking events,” she adds. “You need to go with the flow.”
December 13th to 20th: Informal meetings
Christmas is absolutely a good time to be looking for a new job says career coach Jeremy l’Anson, author of ‘You’re hired!’: “Employers will have headcount and budget and will be looking to line people up for the new year.”
While you may not secure a job interview in the approach to Christmas, Anson says it’s a great time to schedule speculative and informal meetings with people who probably have less to do than usual and are filled with festive bonhomie. “There’s a window of opportunity in the run up to Christmas,” says Anson. “It’s often easier to arrange to meet people. You should be able to set up some speculative meetings right up until December 20th.”
December 27th to 31st: CV refurbishment
Instead of lying on the sofa and watching films or embarking upon family walks in the rain, you could be spending the post-Christmas pre-New Year period priming your CV.
Firstly, we’re nearly in 2013: now is the time to de-emphasise anything that happened before 2003. Secondly, make sure your CV does what it’s supposed to do.
“It’s not really appropriate for your CV to focus on things that happened more than ten years ago,” says Janet Moran at CV writing company The CV House. “People will always be most interested in what happened over the past five years – there’s a rule of diminishing returns over time.”
Make sure your CV fulfills its basic function, says Moran: “It needs to say where you’ve worked, what you’ve done, how you’ve done it and what the outcome has been – in reverse chronological order. If you can put metrics and financials against your achievements, you will give prospective employers something to judge you on.”
December 31st to January 7th: Multiple job applications
Having lined everything else up over the previous few weeks, the end of December and start of January is the time to apply for a lot of jobs. Recruiters and banks may be closed or thinly staffed, but you can still send in your CV and apply online.
“If you look at the stats on job boards, there are a lot of people applying for jobs over the Christmas period,” says l’Anson: “People put the time to very good use.”
If you’ve been out of work for a while, you should also use this time to look for voluntary work Moran says volunteering is becoming crucial to getting back into the market. “You need to have something recent that you can talk about – even it’s purely voluntary. Christmas is a good time to think about what that might be,” she says.