By Dr. Howard Gauthier
Roger was attending the office Christmas party but his mind was somewhere else. He has been looking for another job for about two or three months with little success. Roger decided to take a break from the job search process during the holiday season. He reasoned that nobody was hiring so he would just take a month or so off and pick the search back up after the first of the year. His mind, however, wouldn’t let it go.
As he was filling his cup at the punch bowl, Sara, a co-worker and friend, asked how the search was going. Roger explained that he was taking some time off and will pick it back up in a month. Sara looked puzzled as she questioned his reasoning.
Sara went on to explain that Roger is falling into the same trap that many people fall into. This “taking some time off” logic is the exact reason he should stay active in the job search process. You see, when so many people take time away from being active in the job search process, there is less competition for each job, which makes it easier to get the position. Couple this with the networking opportunities available during this time of year, and the holidays become a real good time for you to be active in the job market.
When looking for a job during the holiday season, keep these tips in mind:
- The Holiday Season offers Networking Opportunities – This is because of the large number of parties, gatherings, and functions. Take advantage of these opportunities but do it gracefully so you don’t appear to be using these events as your mini-job search campaign.
- Don’t Overdo the Punch – Have fun at the parties but don’t over do it. Your brand and reputation are on the line.
- Be Intentional in Building Relationships – One of your main focuses needs to be on building positive relationships with colleagues. You will want to be purposeful in developing these relationships, yet be sincere in wanting to get to know them. This means you should be very outgoing and friendly during the events, but don’t continue to look over their shoulder for the next person you can talk to. Stay in the moment and build a relationship.
- Your Image Counts – Look professional and don’t come dressed as Santa. It’s great to have fun during these events, but whether you like it or not, you’re being judged. People draw conclusions about you based on how you look, what you say, and what you do. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have fun; it just means that you shouldn’t take crazy pictures and post them to Facebook or grab the mic and make a fool out of yourself.
- Stay Active in the Job Search Process – Remember that the competition for each job is significantly reduced during this time of year. Be the exception and continue to work your job search campaign.
- Know the Job Search Process – A job search goal that is easy for you to accomplish during this time of year is to brush up on your job search skills. Know what your skills and abilities are. Have your sales pitch written out, practiced, and down pat. Perfect your resume and cover letter. Write out and practice your answers to interview questions. Practice telling stories. In other words, read and prepare for all five stages of the job search process. When asked what you’d like for Christmas, you might want to consider a new suit, new dress shoes, or a book on the elements that are associated with the job search process.
Remember, ultimately the job will go to the candidate who is prepared and who effectively executes the basics of the job interview process. In all you do, you will want to EXECUTE FOR SUCCESS!
Howard Gauthier is an Associate Professor of Athletic Administration at Idaho State University. He is a former collegiate athletic director and collegiate basketball coach. He is also an author of 9 books. Check out his book, Getting Hired In College Sports – 2nd Edition at http://www.SportsCareersInsitute.com or his newest book Execute for Success at www.Execute4Success.com.
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