use these tips for holiday job search

Your Holiday Job Search: Tips for Applying for Jobs Around the Holidays

The holiday job search isn’t as fruitless as you might think. While many people avoid applying for jobs around the holidays due to a perceived freeze in hiring from employers, the truth of the matter is that employers are always looking to add value to their teams. For you, this translates into a remote job market rife with opportunities, just so long as you’re willing to apply yourself. So if you’re willing to put your best foot forward and find your next remote job or seasonal gig, here are a few tips to help you.

Add a Holiday Job Search to Your Regular Routine

Like any other job hunt, your holiday job search requires some slight changes to your regular routine. If you’re currently working, you should find time to apply to interesting or intriguing jobs every day; if you’re not working, the process should be that much easier. Even if you only apply to one job a day, you’re already making a vested effort to add a job search into your daily affairs.

At first, applying for jobs may seem arduous. So if you want to work your way up to the application process, you can at least start by seeing what’s out there. Search job boards to see openings, filter between seasonal, part-time, and full-time positions, and you can get a better idea of what jobs interest you and which ones don’t.

This may seem like an overwhelming task when you have holiday activities and plans, but the more you commit to it, the better your chances for success.

Update Your Resume and Fine-Tune Your Cover Letter

While you’re conducting a holiday job search, you get all kinds of useful information and tidbits. As you pore over each listing, you see keyphrases, necessary skills, and nice-to-haves littered throughout job descriptions. These are vital pieces of information to retool your resume and fine-tune your cover letter.

But using keywords and tailoring your resume to a particular job title is only half the battle. What you’re really doing is arranging your resume to pass through applicant tracking systems. According to Columbia University, 90% of Fortune 500 companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to filter strong candidates from others. This type of system looks specifically for keywords and phrases that you find in the job description. So as you’re retooling your resume, you can add common phrases. This should help you pass the ATS and get you one step closer to employment.

And while cover letters are becoming less popular than they once were, they can add a personal element to your application. Remember that it’s not about paraphrasing your resume; employers can read that on their own. A cover letter should show three basic elements:

  • Your excitement for the position
  • How you align with the company mission and vision
  • What you can bring to the table, or what value you add

Since the cover letter is your introduction to a hiring manager, include a bit of holiday cheer for your holiday job search. A simple season’s greetings in the introductory paragraph should fit quite nicely.

Network With Holiday Greetings

Networking during the holidays may seem like a fool’s errand, but it’s surprisingly more effective than you may have thought. Of course, some workers will be out of town, on vacation, or just unplugged from work for a few days or weeks. But coming back to an email, social media message, or another form of communication can certainly put you on another person’s radar for a job referral.

That’s the most integral idea of them all. According to LinkedIn, between 30% and 50% of new hires are from employee referrals. Compare that to the lower chances of being an outside hire at a new company where you don’t know anyone, and referrals are the vital link in your holiday job search.

The holidays seem to provide the perfect excuse to put a job search on the back burner. You’re busy with family and social events, have a laundry list of things to get done, and the list goes on and on. While important to your holiday festivities, all of these are just well-disguised excuses to derail your holiday job search.

As a result, you should reaffirm your commitment to finding a new job. This goes hand-in-hand with several of the tasks listed above, but sometimes, saying it out loud or writing it down can have a more profound effect. In this manner, you’re telling yourself what’s important, why you want a new job, and how you’re going to do it. This helps you avoid lying to yourself and putting off the task altogether. Though it may seem a bit odd to tell yourself to do something, professing your urge to improve your career might just be the little spark that you need.

Have Realistic Expectations

Just because employers are still hiring during the holidays doesn’t mean you’re a shoo-in for the job. Sure, the number of applicants may go down from November through the end of the year, but that doesn’t necessarily guarantee a job. However, it may certainly help you stand out during a holiday job search, especially as other candidates go on vacation or take time off.

To this effect, you simply need to have realistic expectations just as you would with any other job search. You may have delays in communication from hiring managers or may not hear anything back from an employer for longer than you expected. Just take it with a grain of salt. As long as you continue applying for jobs around the holidays, nothing should discourage you.

Stay Flexible

Although some companies stay in hiring mode during the holidays, you might want to think twice before turning down a job because it doesn’t fit in with your holiday schedule. Whether the job is seasonal or permanent, you need to stay flexible. Flexibility can make all the difference during your holiday job search, simply because other workers may not have this option. Oddly enough, you need to stay flexible in your schedule to be flexible at a new job.

That isn’t to say you should scrap all of your holiday plans just to take a new job. But if you can move the date of something, have your kids or spouse help out with holiday events, or just say no to certain activities, you’re paving the way for success in a new remote job. Applying for jobs around the holidays isn’t always synonymous with convenience, so prepare yourself ahead of time.

Applying the tips above can certainly improve your prospects on a holiday job search, but sometimes, you need a helping hand. That’s where Virtual Vocations can help. By signing up for Virtual Vocations, you get access to a host of great amenities that can streamline your job hunt. Thanks to a jobs board with thousands of listings, career services, an online portfolio, and access to our Career Center, you have everything you need to find the remote job you want. Sometimes the best holiday gift is the one you give to yourself: a new remote position!

Are you looking for a job? How do you keep your job search going during the holidays? Connect with Virtual Vocations on FacebookTwitterLinkedInInstagram, and YouTube to share your thoughts. We’d love to hear from you!

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