Laid off at the holidays? Of course you are upset, frustrated, disappointed, maybe even scared. It is tempting to say, “it’s the holiday’s, I’ll start looking in January.” Even though you may not want to jump into the job search, you can’t miss this great opportunity to jump start the process so you are well positioned for success in the new year.
Get rid of the anger or negative feelings or at least put them aside. Focus on what you want to do and how you will sell yourself. This isn’t a personal failure, it is an economic reality. Try to focus your energy on your next opportunity.
Timing is Everything —This could be the best time of year to be looking. Many companies have new budget years starting January 1 and those often include budget approval for new positions. Hiring freezes often expire at the end of the year as well. It is not unusual to see a flurry of hiring early in the new year for new positions and replacement hires. More than other times of the year, there are often multiple positions open in the same timeframe. It can also be a great time for networking.
Prepare for Success —There are a number of things you can do in the next month to be well-positioned to take advantage of those openings the first of the year.
- Define your plan – Identify target companies and research them. Use your alumni networks, Linked In and other tools to identify contacts at your target companies. Research the roles you are interested in and the qualifications for those positions.
- Network, Network, Network – For many professionals, there is some quieter time at work around the holidays. Unless they are closing the books for the year or involved in a significant time constrained project, this is an easier time of year to get on someone’s calendar for an informational interview. Take advantage of this to network like crazy. Talk to as many people as you can in your target companies to learn more about the companies, their hiring practices and the skills sets they seek. Talk to people in the roles that interest you.
- Maintain contact with your network. Ask each contact for other people you can talk to. Always follow-up and say thank you. Keep them posted on your progress.
- Identify key professional groups for your target roles and attend events this month. Many will have holiday gatherings which are a great opportunity to make a lot of contacts.
Leverage your Personal Networks – This is the season of many holiday get-togethers with family and friends. Be sure people know you are looking and what you are looking for. They may have contacts you can utilize.
A productive December of research, planning and networking could position you for great success in January when positions open up. Resist the temptation to take the month of December off. Do your homework now so you are prepared for success in the new year. Set targets for yourself and monitor your progress. Be sure to celebrate your success. Take a walk or visit with a friend if you’ve achieved your job search targets for the week.