For many people, the start of the holiday season means it’s time to reflect on how wonderful everything is. But, if you’re actively job searching, the start of the holiday season means that fewer employers are hiring, so you have less opportunities for new employment.
But that doesn’t mean you should be a Grinch (or Scrooge) about your job prospects or pause your job search until the holiday season ends. There are plenty of things you can do during the holidays to jump-start your job search in 2018. Here are three that you can focus on in the next few weeks.
1. Network at holiday parties.
Though it can vary per the company, holiday parties are typically very cheerful events. It’s a great place to talk to your colleagues like they’re not just your colleagues, and it’s a good time to talk with your boss about what you both may have in common.
Since you’re looking for a new job, you’ll want to go to as many holiday parties as you possibly can. The more people you can meet, the better! Here are a few tips on how to make that happen:
2. Update your social media presence.
New year, new you? It can look that way on LinkedIn with a little bit of effort! Take one of your vacation days to comb through your social media profiles and make sure they reflect your personal brand. Don’t just focus on your LinkedIn, though; focus on whichever profiles are public. You never know where recruiters are looking for more information about you, so update as much as you think is relevant and then some more for good measure).
It’s also a good idea to refresh the individuals you’re using as references. Maybe take them out to coffee as a thank you, or change up your list based on recent work experiences. The longer you job search, the more your strategy will change. That’s totally normal, so embrace it!
3. Sign up for volunteer opportunities.
Volunteering outside of your nine-to-five job is something you may already be doing, but since organizations scale their efforts during the holidays, it makes sense that you should scale your efforts, too. Because volunteer work brings in a wide variety of people, you never know whom you’ll be able to network with. Focus on opportunities that rely on a large team of people so you can maximize the number of people you meet.
Another benefit to volunteering with nonprofits and other organizations is it gives you the opportunity to get an up-close look at companies in that industry. Say that your dream job is working at nonprofit ABC, and nonprofit ABC is looking for volunteers to help with its annual gift drive. Signing up will not only give you the chance to give back but will also give you the chance to talk to the event organizers and learn more about what they do. If you have a real connection, maybe they’d be open to talking to you about the company further!
A version of this post previously appeared on Fairygodboss, which helps women get the inside scoop on pay, corporate culture, benefits, and work flexibility. Founded in 2015, Fairygodboss offers company ratings, job listings, discussion boards, and career advice.
Last week, my colleague Phil Stott wrote an article titled “4 Reasons Why You Should Skip the Office Party,” in which he raised some very valid risks that holiday parties present. And while I agree that work parties can present some potential problems—such as embarrassing yourself in front of your colleagues due to overconsumption of alcohol—they can also offer many benefits.
In the wake of the ongoing wave of sexual harassment and assault revelations that are sweeping the landscape, a number of companies are considering limiting their potential exposure to future problems by scaling back on their holiday parties. Vox Media, for example, has reportedly dropped the open bar from its annual bash this year, while citing the following rationale in an email to its employees:
"We recognize that even though alcohol isn’t always the reason for unprofessional behavior, creating an environment that encourages overconsumption certainly contributes to it.
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