One of the old fashioned myths about job hunting is that you’ll never get hired in December. “People slow down for the holidays,” the thinking went. “Everything is on hold until the new year.”
Thankfully I ignored that advice back in 1999, when I interviewed for and was offered my dream job at a career-focused Internet start-up just a few short weeks before Christmas.
The same can happen for you. Here are five tips for job hunting during the holiday season, with help from LinkedIn:
Get back in touch. The holidays are the perfect time to reach out and get back in touch with people you haven’t spoken to in a while, such as former colleagues, former classmates, long-lost friends and members of professional associations you used to belong to. The key with this type of outreach is to make every communication personal.
Rather than sending a blast “Happy Holidays” message or a generic e-card, write a customized note to each person (using a LinkedIn connection request if you still have the person’s email address or InMail if you are a Job Seeker Premium account holder) to show that your desire to connect is genuine. And, save the news of your job hunt for a phone or in-person conversation. Your message should look something like this:
Happy Holidays! I know it’s been a long time and I hope you’ve been doing well. I saw on your LinkedIn profile that you’ve moved on to a higher level position – congratulations! I’d love to reconnect in the New Year since we are still working in the same field. Can I give you a call or take you out for a coffee? Thanks so much and enjoy the season.
All the best,
Mix business with pleasure. In addition to reconnecting with older contacts, you’ll likely spend time over the holidays with people you see on a regular basis — friends, family and current business connections. To add a touch of professional networking to the holiday fun, check out people’s profiles on LinkedIn before heading out to a holiday party or family gathering. See what people are working on, which contacts you might have in common and where you might be able to offer them career support.
At holiday events, it’s okay to talk about your job search and be specific about what kind of position you’re looking for. Most people, especially friends and family members, are happy to help or keep an eye out for opportunities. If you do have some great career conversations over eggnog and cookies, remember to send each person a connection request (if you’re not connected already) or a LinkedIn message early in the New Year to follow up on any leads and continue the conversation.
Stand out from the crowd. Remember that myth that no one gets hired in December? Use it to your advantage! If many job seekers still pull back during December, you have a better chance of standing out to employers if you do submit an application. Any recruiter with active job openings is highly likely to check his or her inbox over the holidays, so make sure your application is there.
Go ahead and follow up your application with an additional InMail message to the recruiter as well (you can often find the job poster’s name and a link to his or her LinkedIn profile right on the job posting page). You might say something like, “I wanted to follow up my application to position #12345 with a brief note to express my interest,” and then mention something specific you’ve read about the employer, such as a positive news story, an exciting industry development, a cause they support — all of which you might learn about on the company’s website or on its LinkedIn Company Page. The process may not move forward until the New Year, but you’ll show the employer that you’re ready to hit the ground running.
Be a resource. Next, keep in mind that people are reflective at the end of the year. They are often looking for “best of” lists, wrap-up reports and predictions for the coming 12 months. These are all great ideas for content to share in your LinkedIn status updates. If you serve as a resource for year-end news about your industry or a topic you’re passionate about, people will remember your expertise in the coming year when they hear about opportunities.
Update your profile. December is also a great time to make sure that your LinkedIn profile and your resume include all of your accomplishments and updates from the previous 12 months. Did you take on a large volunteer project that demonstrates your organization skills? Did you start a professional blog you can link to your profile? Did you complete some freelance projects that you can share in the Projects section of your profile?
Besides increasing the overall value of your LinkedIn profile, another benefit of including new information is that your profile updates will be broadcast to members of your LinkedIn network (as long as you have your activity broadcasts turned on in your profile settings). You never know what might catch the eye of someone in your network who knows of a job opening.
Happy Holidays and I look forward to seeing you on LinkedIn in 2013!