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Separating fact from fiction when it comes to festive job hunting

By Mark Staniland, Managing Director of Hays Ireland

After the ups and downs of this year, we all deserve a well-earned break over Christmas. It’s important to take this time to relax, recharge and refresh for the upcoming year.

However, the festive period is also a good time to evaluate your professional life and set a new direction for the year ahead. If a new job is on the horizon for you, then you need to take a proactive approach to job searching during at least some of your time off.

Here is some guidance about what’s true and what isn’t when it comes to using the festive period to look for a new job.

I need to completely switch off from work.

Fiction.

I’m certainly not denying that it’s important to switch off from work during the festive period. It has felt like a long year, which has left many of us wanting – and needing – to take this time to relax.

However, you also deserve to have a successful career in the year ahead. My advice is therefore to turn down your work brain, rather than switching it off completely. Don’t ban yourself from reflecting on the year gone by. What parts of your work have you enjoyed? What have you achieved? What would you have done differently?

Some reflection and consideration might illuminate new goals or a new direction for you to take your career in as we approach 2021.

Job searching will ruin my Christmas plans.

Fiction.

Relaxed regulations over Christmas mean that many of us are looking forward to spending time with loved ones. There’s lots to do over the festive period in any case, so the last thing you want is to miss out on the fun because you’re looking for a new job.

The reality is that you can do both. Set some time aside to search for jobs, even if it’s just a couple of hours here and there. Aim to harness your most productive times – like you would do in a normal day at work.

Being disciplined and smart with your time is the key to getting a good end of year break while also investing time in your career.

Lots of people will be wanting a new job in the New Year.

Fact.

As I mentioned, the New Year is a great time to set a new direction for your career and explore your options. Indeed, many professionals will be thinking this, which can make the New Year feel like a competitive time to be applying for jobs.

But here’s where you can put yourself at an advantage: starting your job hunt over Christmas will give you a head start over others. Many will put off their job search until they get around to making it a New Year’s resolution, so get ahead of the competition by starting your job hunt now. Even if it’s just updating your CV and doing some research at this stage, beginning the process early will pay off when competition might heat up in the New Year.

No one will look at my CV over Christmas.

Fiction.

It’s a fair enough assumption to make, seeing as business activity typically winds down towards the end of the year.

However, this doesn’t mean that hiring completely stops. Recruiters and hiring managers will likely still be checking their emails over the Christmas break because of the nature of their job, so don’t worry about your CV sitting in someone’s inbox unread.  What’s more, most recruiters and hiring managers will be feeling less busy over the next few weeks and therefore might be more receptive to any applications that come through.

Putting your CV out there over the Christmas period might just make you stand out more and offer you the chance to grab the attention of a recruiter or hiring manager during a quiet period.

A five-point plan for your festive job hunt

Here are some steps to help you get starting with your job hunt:

  1. Ask yourself what you want from a new job. Think beyond salary and job title – what sort of employer do you want to work for? And what kind of company culture do you need to thrive?
  2. Start researching. Try recruitment websites, job boards and LinkedIn to get a sense of what’s out there and get inspired.
  3. Brush up your CV. Ensure it’s up to date and include some of the key words and phrases you’ve picked up when researching potential jobs.
  4. Network. Identify relevant contacts who could help you make your next step and reach out.
  5. Practice your interview skills. When you get that call inviting you to interview you want to be ready to impress.

Hopefully separating fact from fiction when it comes to job hunting over Christmas goes to show that it can be a good time to explore your options. Balancing your break with some investment in your career will see you have a positive and successful start to the New Year.

If you’re considering your next step, get in contact with one of our expert recruitment consultants for a confidential chat about the career options available to you, or to access a host of resources for helping you adapt to the new way of working, visit our Inspire Me in the New Era of Work Hub. As your lifelong career partner, we are with you every step of the way and will be updating this site regularly with new guides, blogs and information to support you.

About this author

Mark joined Hays in 1985 as a trainee consultant and has been in various roles, sectors and locations during his time at Hays. He is a Board member and in 2019 his responsibilities extended to Hays Ireland.

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