It’s that time of year again. We have reached the beginning of November and the holiday season is quickly approaching! What a great time of year, there are so many opportunities to see friends and family that you may have not seen in a while, maybe take a trip, and let’s not forget all of the amazing food we get to eat, football to watch, events to attend, etc.! Wow, when you break it down there is a lot going on, over these next couple of months, and that’s not to mention everything you need to get accomplished at work, or in order to get work (a job).

Earlier this year we spoke, briefly about the potential for a slowdown in hiring and job seeking during the summer months. This wasn’t a result of companies not hiring during those months, but rather that there are more hindrances throughout the process. The holiday season is another one of those times where job seekers think “Hey, everyone is too busy doing other things during the holidays to hire or there is too much going on right now, I’ll just wait until the New Year to pick my search back up”. If you are serious about looking for a new job, don’t think like that, don’t slow down, and definitely don’t stop! The companies who are hiring definitely won’t be stopping!

Why? The holiday season marks the end of a year. Many companies will have hiring budgets that they need to fill, otherwise they lose the budget for next year. There is also the possibility that they are preparing for the upcoming year/quarter or that openings they had put off earlier in the year due to budget constraints, are now a go. Whatever the reason may be, there will be lost opportunity if you skimp on your search efforts now.

There are some great opportunities for you as a job seeker throughout the holiday season that can greatly assist you in your search.

Get the advantage over your competition; even with all the information out there warning job seekers not to slow their efforts during this time of year, many still do. Plant the seed now and grow your relationships, it may just beat out your competition in the future. It is worthy to note that yes, people are busy this time of year and their schedules are going to mimic that. So, be flexible and make yourself available to meet on other people’s schedules.

Put emphasis on networking; the parties and professional events (there are a lot of them this time of year) that you attend throughout the season are all great ways to expand and strategically place yourself in your network. It’s also a great excuse to reconnect with those you may have lost contact with, send them a card or a catch-up email. You should always be looking to help your network; however, it does present you with opportunities to inform your network that you are looking for a new job (I’d highly recommend not always making this the topic of conversation though). Keep in mind the people you haven’t seen in a while may know of opportunities you don’t, so incorporate your career aspirations into the conversation, but don’t make it all about you.

The holidays traditionally are a time for “giving” so find ways to help the people in your network. Volunteer at a local organization, community shelter, church, school, etc. Give back to those that have helped you and offer your services to those who may be in need of it. The amount of possibilities for volunteering during the holidays are endless. There are so many organizations that provide charitable services which depend on a wide variety of skillsets to accomplish. Take these opportunities to expand your skills/knowledge base or experience a different field of work first hand. Find something you are passionate about and help others. Just remember, talk to the people you are working with, it is a networking opportunity after all! Efforts you make, like volunteering may not be reciprocated in the same manner as say, mentoring someone in your network, but the people you volunteer with may just be the people to help you find a new job! And, if it doesn’t work out that way, just think about the people you have helped as a result of volunteering; it’s a great motivator.