(BPT) - When you're looking for a job, the holidays may seem like a time to take a break. But if you do, you may miss the employment opportunity you've been waiting for. Why is the off season of job searching actually a hidden opportunity to become employed?
Job searching from Thanksgiving to the middle of January provides many unique opportunities, says Donna Dessart, director of Career Services at The Art Institute of California - San Francisco, a campus of Argosy University.
Reduced competition from those individuals who stop their job search at this time, and the need for some employers to spend their end of the year budgets or gear up for the new year favor the active job searcher. What's more is this festive season is an ideal time to be social, get organized and keep motivated.
“Now is the time to move into action,” encourages Tanya Essien who oversees the Career Services team at The Art Institute of California - Orange County, a campus of Argosy University and advises dozens of graduating students and recent alumni. “This is a great time of year to remind yourself of your value and goals.”
Here are some useful tips from the two directors on how to keep the job search momentum going:
Get into the holiday spirit
* Seek out and attend as many events as you can fit in your calendar. Network with family friends, alumni and acquaintances at holiday events. You never know where the next job lead will come from. Also, advises Dessart, “Prepare a 30-second statement that tells people you are looking for a job and what you have to offer them - and use it.”
* Send holiday cards with your business card to hiring managers where you've interviewed. “Many decision makers are in the office during the holidays,” reminds Essien.
* Take on seasonal work to tide your finances into the new year and get your foot in the door at a company, notes Dessart who works with many Bay Area employers. Temporary agencies also see an increase in employer requests as companies struggle to complete annual goals and enable employees to use their vacation time.
Stay organized and prepare
* Make sure you are keeping track of your job search by creating a spreadsheet detailing where you applied and how you followed up, recommends Essien.
* Find a copy of the Book of Lists at your local library. This guide is a definitive listing of the companies and players that make up your county's economy, Essien informs. Take notes, particularly since the book also gives the names of the decision makers of the company.
* Utilize social media - During downtime, join LinkedIn groups related to your field, introduce yourself and let them know you are looking for work.
* “Most importantly, remain motivated. Write a mission statement for the holiday season. Create a goal to have something accomplished by Jan. 1,” says Essien.
* “Remember, hiring managers with fresh goals for the new year are eager to find people who can help them reach these goals,” advises Dessart.
To learn more about The Art Institutes, visit www.artinstitutes.edu.