Business

Keep believing in your job search strategy

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A "now hiring" sign is posted on the patio of the former Louie's Wine Dive in the Iowa River Landing in Coralville on Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

If your neighborhood is like mine, holiday lights and Christmas decorations started showing up as soon as the Halloween pumpkins were cleared away.

At the first sign of the holiday season, many job seekers will put their search on hold because they buy into the myth that hiring stops until after the first of the year, or they believe that employers are only looking for seasonal help.

As an experienced HR professional, I have hired many permanent employees in the fourth quarter as well as in early January.

As with many of my colleagues, I was posting jobs, actively interviewing and extending offers during the holiday season.

There are several reasons why employers may be hiring in December. Some organizations have money in their budgets that need to be used up by year-end. Others are trying to tie up loose ends before the new year and this might include hiring for open positions.

Our global economy means customers, vendors and suppliers are in parts of the world that don’t celebrate Christmas. As a result, business keeps moving forward.

In addition, positions will open up due to resignations, especially in organizations where bonuses aren’t part of the compensation package.

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If employers have tasks to complete and problems to solve, these needs can occur any time, including in the months of November, December and January.

Hiring is focused on needs, not on the time of the year.

To keep your job search moving forward, I suggest that at a minimum you continue applying for positions and keep up with your social media accounts.

Jobs continue to post on LinkedIn, Facebook and Indeed, and you want to be considered for them. You want to keep reaching out to others who have common interests and connections.

If you drop out of sight for a couple months, people will think that you’re no longer looking for a new opportunity.

You also want to continue with your other networking activities.

The holiday season typically is a time of goodwill when people are generally in good spirits and more likely to help or lend support.

Every time you share information you are networking. Each conversation contributes to cultivating relationships which in turn enhances your visibility and credibility.

Networking is what leads to opening doors, more connections and more possibilities. That is why it is a key component of an effective job search.

Even though many of our usual holiday events and parties are not happening this year, that doesn’t mean that you can’t continue networking.

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This still can be a season of reconnecting with people with whom you haven’t spoken in a long time. For example, if you are not one to send out holiday cards, maybe this is the time to start.

If you don’t celebrate Christmas, consider sending a New Year’s or “looking toward 2021” greeting instead.

Share with your extended family, friends and former colleagues that you are looking for a specific kind of job or targeting specific companies or industries.

Make it easy for your connections to respond with their ideas or advice by steering them to your email or social media accounts.

This can be done by including a business card which has your current contact details.

Another way to establish new connections and strengthen existing ones is through volunteering.

The holiday season typically has many volunteering opportunities available. During this time of virtual work and social distancing, there still are ways to help others and meet new people at the same time.

Check with local not-for-profit organizations, your place of worship or the United Way to see how and where you can lend a hand. Focus on ways to use your skills and become a resource for others.

Not only will you help others during the season of giving, but you’ll keep your skills sharp and expand your network at the same time.

During the holidays it can be difficult to keep your job search moving ahead and it is easy to believe that landing a new role just isn’t possible this time of year.

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Even if you haven’t convinced yourself that employers stop recruiting as the year comes to an end, there are plenty of other things to distract you during the holidays and slow down your momentum.

You’ve been working hard at expanding your networking efforts, connecting with others and applying for jobs.

Stopping your momentum at this point means you may have start over when January rolls around. Not an easy task.

My advice: Believe in the possibilities, and in your job search, this December. When you ring in the New Year, you’ll be glad you did.

Jennifer Lawrence is the owner of Corridor HR Solutions, a career transition and consulting firm, corridorhrsolutions.com; jennifer@corridorsolutions.com.

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