By Amber Alarid, JVA Consulting
Are you currently searching for a job? Make sure you have a game plan this holiday season, because there are plenty of advantages to continuing your job hunt through the holidays. In this week’s Ask Amber, you will find helpful hints to maintain a strong search during the holiday season.
While the commonly held belief is that the holidays are the slow season for job hunting, this is not always the case. While some companies may technically be “slow” during the holiday season, this can actually mean that they have more time to look into potential employees. If the organization/sector you want to work for is in its slow season, recruiters are more likely to have some free time for you, says JVA’s Recruitment/Staff Development Manager, Wendy Silveira-Steinway. This means it’s important to BE PROACTIVE.
Call the organization when you are preparing to send in your application or right after you send it. Be prepared to speak with a recruiter, having all materials in front of you (job descriptions, your resume and cover letter, and a list of your strengths relating to the position). Be well versed in what the organization does and have an idea of what you want to say if you get someone’s voicemail. If you are lucky enough to catch someone in the office, now would be a great time to ask for an informational interview, which recruiters may have more time to conduct at this time of year.
If you are not able to speak with someone before the end of the year and you have sent in your resume, follow up by January 2. Call to confirm that your resume was received,* but also to make sure that the recruiter and the organization (if they are still operating in full swing over the holidays) had a great holiday. If you do ask or comment about the recruiter’s holiday, make sure that you are sincere. The fact that you are grateful for their time and wishing them well will help you to stand out as a caring individual.
Another thing that should be priority, whether or not you are able to speak with a recruiter, is to take the extra time to craft an excellent cover letter, research the company, and call people you know to ask about their knowledge of or experience with the company. Also, make sure you take the time to edit your resume, paying special attention to tailoring the document to match your cover letter and aligning it with the position’s requirements and preferred qualifications.
The biggest advantage during the holiday season is time—USE IT. Taking the extra time to submit a strong application during the holidays shows recruiters that you are dedicated and want to work for their organization, and that you are committed to doing what it takes to get a job.
Best of luck in your job hunt and happy holidays!
*A special note to recruiters: If you are actively hiring but will be out of the office for the holidays, be sure to set up an auto response on your email and voicemail saying that you are out of the office and when you plan to return; this helps reassure applicants that their application materials were received.