Sitting by a cozy fire with a cup of cheer seems like a much better idea than making cold calls in the middle of winter. But donít let the season fool you - December could be the hottest time of the year to ignite your job search.
"I know searching for a job in December does work," declares David Araldi, regional manager of OfficeTeam in Sacramento. "We traditionally see a spike in hiring during this period."
However, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy - if you believe it's impossible, it will be. "But, if you believe it has a lot of merit, you can make it happen," Araldi insists.
As any experienced jobseeker knows, there are distractions aplenty during the holidays. Family commitments, yuletide shopping, neighborhood parties - all are more appealing than hitting the pavement or punching the keypad on your cell phone.
But think again. An enterprising jobseeker who bundles up and gets out there could be several steps ahead of the less-enterprising souls who go into hibernation until January. Which means less competition.
"For those eager to change jobs, it's easier to get time off and focus on your search," Araldi adds.
In addition, hiring managers may have more time to spend with you. "There are many hiring managers who work through the holidays, and you can use this to your advantage," he advises. "Offices are quieter, there are fewer scheduled meetings, so managers can be more accessible than in January" when offices are trying to catch up from the holiday hiatus.
Companies at this time of year actually may have a financial incentive to hire you.
"Companies often have money left over and open positions remaining at the end of year," Araldi explains. "They may risk losing the funds (if they fail to hire). It's a 'use it or lose it' mentality." There could be a rush to get new hires on the books before the year comes to a close.
What should a jobseeker do if key people are on holiday? "They need to be prepared for the process to take longer," Araldi states. Use that extra time to research the firm and prepare for the interview.
Brian Rueger, director of recruiting for Kforce, a staffing firm in San Francisco, also advises his clients to continue their job hunt during the holidays.
"If you aren't employed, it is not a time to hang up your hat but a time do a search," he urges. "Our focus is primarily on the accounting and technical side, and year end is an important time for most companies. Especially those formulating budgets, reports, data collection and numbers to close out the year. They usually will staff up to meet the extra requirements."
Companies look to staff their new-year projects in December so they will be prepared in January. They also look to hire temporary staff, an ideal way for jobseekers to get a foot in the door while earning some money at this special time of year.
"If out-of-work people are not looking for work during December, they may not be able to afford Christmas presents," he points out. "The biggest incentive is a paycheck."
Prime Time in Trades
Timing is everything, advises Diane Frazier, of Frazier Tile in Danville, and the time is prime for home improvements.
"There is a demand for good quality work to be done at this time of year to get homes ready for the holidays," she reports. "For many homeowners, the push for remodeling or updating begins in September and extends into December. And that deadline becomes almost an obsession as Christmas approaches."
"It's especially a good hiring time in the trades," she states. "Many people are doing home improvements, so we are very busy in December. We just hired two employees in the last month."
She believes construction companies will be needing extra people to work permanently or just to fill in when staff goes on holiday vacation. It's best if applicants are experienced and ready to go to work.
Judy Cowan, a recruiter with Pathways Personnel in San Francisco, says although December can be quiet in a business sense, it's no excuse for not getting your resume out there. "I tell job candidates and jobseekers to be especially flexible in December," Cowan counsels.
There will be more need for temporary than for full-time workers. So one way to have some holiday dollars coming in is to sign on with a temporary agency.
"December, especially, is a busy time for corporations and law firms," Cowan reports. "For example, there are lot of openings for
qualified legal secretaries. You just have to understand the nature of the business world."
Procrastinating until January and getting lost in mountains of bright Christmas wrapping paper might be OK for some, but not for the motivated jobseeker.
"There are a number of employers looking for people with stability and skills," she contends. "And that is true any time of the year."
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