As of October 2010, Roughly 9% of Americans are unemployed. The following 2 months present an opportunity for many of those people. If it doesn’t pertain to shopping, lots of people get a little lazy around the holidays. That’s fine. I’m not here to judge. If National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is on, you’ll find me on the couch too. Everyone can use some down time this time of year. However, if you’re unemployed and/or browsing for a new job, November and December are prime times for a job search.
A lot of people will take a break from their job search around the holidays, as they’ll be busy with family, travel, shopping, eating, etc. The thing is, the job openings are still there. This is an opportunity for the diligent to get a leg up. Use the tips below, stick to your search, and maybe you’ll land that new gig for 2011.
Update your resume. Add your current job and any new skills or accomplishments you’ve picked up. You can also keep several versions of your resume on file for different types of jobs. Maybe one has some info geared towards the financial industry, and another is more about customer service. Whatever you’re into. The point is if you’re applying for different jobs, make each application specific for that job. This goes for cover letters too. If it’s generic, then so are you.
If you don’t have a profile already, get on it. Create your professional profile on LinkedIn.com. If you’ve already got a resume, then it’s simple enough to just transfer that info to the web. Regardless of whether or not you get a job or even an inquiry from LinkedIn, it’s still something you can point to as an online resume. Otherwise what will you do? Carry around hard copies of your resume everywhere you go? Here are some keys to using LinkedIn:
- Have a descriptive title for your profile. In a few keywords, it should describe who you are professionally and what kind of job you may want. For example: “Marketing coordinator with a flair for event planning.”
- Make connections with current and past employers and coworkers. These are the people who will build your online reputation.
- Write recommendations for people you’ve enjoyed working with. This shows your closeness with coworkers, and will prompt them to recommend you as well. You can also request recommendations from people you are close to.
- List accomplishments in your previous positions, not just responsibilities and tasks.
- Check out LinkedIn Answers and see if you can add to a conversation. As with any networking site, the more active you are, the more visible you are. Show your expertise.
Aside from LinkedIn, manage your online presence responsibly. Do you have a Facebook profile? What about MySpace, YouTube, and Twitter? If you want all your friends to see you in your “sexy nurse” costume and the video of your longest keg-stand, that’s fine. Just be sure to adjust your privacy settings so that only friends can see them, not potential employers. It has become pretty standard for a hiring manager to do a little online research on an applicant. Google yourself and make sure nothing embarrassing comes up. If it does, get rid of it.
Online Job Listings:
Once your resume is up to date, upload it to the job sites and start browsing. Start with Monster.com and Careerbuilder.com. Punch in all the criteria of the job you want, and see what comes up. With an account (which is free) you can also set up email alerts and saved searches, so the site will always know what type of job you’re looking for.
Another great feature of these websites is the tips and tools they offer. They have advice on several topics you’ll encounter in a job search, like formatting and writing resumes and cover letters, preparing for interviews, workplace etiquette, salary negotiation, and more.
Check company websites too. There are a lot of jobs that don’t get posted to to the popular job sites sites like Monster and Careerbuilder. If you’re interested in working for a particular company, check their website frequently for updated job listings. The company may have its own LinkedIn page too. You may also find other job websites that are geared towards your field of interest.
Face to Face Networking:
The holidays are a time when you’ll probably be seeing a lot of friendly faces. Don’t be shy about telling people you’re in the market for a new job. Friends like to help. In fact, about 40% of job seekers say that they found their current job through a friend.
These are all things that can be done easily during the holidays. If you’re at a party, network! Sitting home by the fire? Pour some eggnog, break out the resume, and let the editing begin! Done with your online shopping? Surf around the job boards!
Now is also the time to sign on for seasonal employment opportunities. Just about every store and business is going to hire additional help for the holiday season. Why not pick up a few hours a week for some extra cash? Employee discounts are also a big perk this time of year. Inquire within any business that interests you. This may not be a “career stepping stone” for you, but at least it gives you something to do, keeps you in the working mindset, and puts some money in your pocket.
Above all stay positive, keep active, and enjoy your friends and family this holiday season. For more tips on job searching, check out our previous post: Laid-Off? Prepare for the Work Ahead.