I am often asked by lawyers whether it is worth searching for a new job in December and January.
While business activity can slow in December, employers’ need for talent does not. Nor do recruitment budgets shrink over the holiday period. Unexpected situations arise: resignations, increased business activity or other developments, which necessitate hiring. Also, approval for new hires may be held over to the New Year. A person willing to invest the time can position themselves well for a new role.
Do not be fooled by the number of roles advertised during this period. Employers and recruiters may elect not to advertise because of the belief that potential employees are not focused on their job hunt during the ‘silly season’. However, recruitments that were on foot in late November will remain ongoing in December; working closely with your recruiter will give you access to the unseen job market.
Many job seekers withdraw from a job search because they are taking holidays and are not available. This means there are fewer jobseekers in December and January. Therefore, if you stay on the hunt for roles, you will be searching with less competition and your chances of having your resume noticed can improve.
A holiday period is an excellent time to develop your job-search plans. It could be a time to update your resume, prepare your cover letter, dig out academic records and organise referees. Decide on what you are hoping to achieve in making a move, determine your strategy and begin to initiate your plans.
The December/January period is also an opportunity to try a different job search method: it is an excellent period for career networking. Reach out to your networks and to recruiters to assist you in your search.
People are often more relaxed and positive in December and are more likely to be open and generous with their time and connections. Attending networking events will also allow you to develop new connections. Importantly, developing connections will allow you to be front of mind with potential employers you may meet. You can always follow up these connections and also make cold calls regarding potential job opportunities.
You can also use this time to send holiday notes and cards to your network. You shouldn’t refer to your job search in the card but you should include your contact information. You can also use social media to connect with people and call people in your network to discuss your plans. This way you will be front of mind when the next fabulous job surfaces.
Embrace the opportunities this period provides; be more positive and optimistic than those who withdraw from the hunt. All you need to do is adjust your methods; with good planning and the investment of some of your time and effort you will be well placed for a new role in 2013.