A lot of professionals stop their job search in December, believing that employers' focus will be on tying up loose business ends before the New Year and not on recruitment. Well don't believe it - just because temperatures have started to freeze, doesn't mean your career plans have to as well! December can be a great time of year to find a new job, if you know how to adapt your approach and make the most of the situation. Here's how…
Dress your CV
The lack of a well-written and up-to-date CV is what prevents many people from securing a new job, regardless of the time of year. However, December is the perfect time to look back at what you have done professionally over the past 12 months and decide where you want to go in the year ahead. Take note of your main achievements/performance highlights from 2013, and make sure these feature prominently in your CV. Also try to include any objectives you are currently working on, or have scheduled for 2014, and remove out-dated information. Updating your CV like this will not only revitalise the document, but also show that you are both reflective and motivated - two highly sought after attributes in an employee. Even if this CV doesn't help secure you a job pre-Christmas, it could impress enough to make sure you're the one candidate an employer is thinking about as soon as business resumes in the New Year.
Rediscover auld acquaintances
December is a great time to reconnect with distant friends and family. The same goes for business contacts. Do you have any old connections that could help you in your job search, perhaps a previous employer or colleague who has moved on to a company or industry where you'd like to work? Well, get in touch! It's always nice to reignite old acquaintances at this time of year, so drop these connections a friendly email to say hello. You never know what could develop. Just be sure to send them a personal note and not a blanket email that goes out to your entire address book. Nothing looks less sincere than a mail merge! They could provide valuable insight into a particular industry, highlight a job opportunity or even just become a long-term business contact and friend - none of which are ever a bad thing.
'Tis the season to be social
In addition to contacting old connections, you should also try to meet up with some current contacts for a casual catch-up before you all finish up for the holidays. As they are professional contacts, some work chat will definitely be on the agenda and they may have some useful information that could benefit your job search. Just don't focus too much on the workplace or your catch-up may be short lived!
There are also normally quite a few networking events in December. Networking events are always a great way to make new contacts, discover upcoming job opportunities and increase your professional profile. These events are normally much more relaxed at Christmas time, so if you are the type of person who is usually daunted by these situations, take advantage of the more casual atmosphere and jump in.
Guide them to you
Social media channels like LinkedIn are a great resource for boosting your professional profile online. However, it can be hard to connect with potential employers or reach out to them without coming across too sales-y. Instead, try increasing your visibility by keeping your profile up-to-date, sharing relevant updates and commenting thoughtfully on industry articles or within groups. If the employer is savvy about their industry and regularly utilises LinkedIn, then they may even connect with you. However, just in case they're not frequent LinkedIn users, be sure to include a note of your LinkedIn URL on your CV.
As previously mentioned, many people stop their job search in December, believing that companies will not be hiring. Funnily enough, this fact is often what causes a lot of companies to actually stop looking for staff, as less people apply for jobs than usual. Taking advantage of this situation by simply applying for jobs and being an active jobseeker will really make you stand out in the otherwise quiet marketplace. As an added plus, the reduced competition for roles may give your application an extra boost, making your great CV look irresistible!
There you have it, the guide to not just helping your job search survive in December, but thrive in it. Get out there, brave the cold and capture every opportunity - believe me, they're still out there.