If you’re job searching right now during the holidays, read on for our best tips to keep your career momentum building during this time of year.

Don’t Wait to Apply

If you see a job posted online during the holidays, it’s imperative that you apply for that position quickly and not wait to submit your application. Why? Hiring windows tend to be shorter during the holidays because of employee vacation time, so they’re trying to recruit a strong applicant pool quickly.

Often, companies recruiting in the month of December want to have employees start during the first week of January. My recommendation is to submit your application no longer than 2-3 days after you first see the posting. It’s a sad feeling to go back to the job a week later and to learn that the posting has been taken down!

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Photo by Oladimeji Ajegbile / Unsplash

Use Out of Office Replies as an Opportunity to Follow Up

Since you can’t predict who will be out of the office during the holidays, it’s very likely that if you email someone about an informational interview or a job opportunity that you’ll receive an automated email letting you know they’re out of the office.

This can actually be a great opening for following up with the person later. Make note of the date of their return to the office (if noted in the email) and put a reminder on your calendar to follow up.

For example:

Hi Sam, I received your auto reply while you were out of the office – I hope you had a restful holiday! I wanted to quickly follow up with you about my application for the Marketing Coordinator position…” If they do not indicate any return to office date, it’s safe to follow up with them during the first week of January.

Set a Clear Focus and Time Limit

In career coaching, I often hear people who are job searching say something along the lines of "I'm open to anything," which is almost never actually true. While it can feel better to be open to many opportunities, it is actually the focused job search that yields the best results.

This gives you direction and a filter through which to update your resume, network, and search for opportunities.

Why is this the case? Think of a boat in the ocean, with constantly changing winds. In one moment, the boat is going east but then quickly turns south when the winds change. Then north, then east again... you get the point. If you have a consistent wind in one direction, now the boat can really get somewhere.

I recommend starting your search by filling in the following statement:

I'm interested in [position] roles within [industry], where I can use my [skill] and solve problems related to [overall impact you want to make].

When you have clarity about your initial job search target, I also recommend setting a time frame. For example - marketing coordinator roles within startup companies for the next 2 months. The time frame is arbitrary, but it gives you structure and clarity about what opportunities to say no to, as well as what to pursue further.

Join the Talent Pools

On their websites, many companies have something called a talent pool or talent community. In short, a talent pool is a pool of applicants that a company is consistently gathering over time that they can inform about potential job opportunities as they emerge.

To get in this pool of applicants, typically there is a form on the careers page of a company’s website where you can submit your name, email address, and the kinds of opportunities you’d be interested in.

While this is a more passive way to job search, it can help you be among the first in the know when new opportunities emerge at a company. If there is not an obvious way to join the talent pool, that’s a great excuse to email the company and ask if that’s a system they have established. You never know unless you ask!

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Photo by Christin Hume / Unsplash

The Importance of Mindset and Action

When job searching during the holidays and a global pandemic, it’s easy to assume that companies aren’t hiring. However, there are many companies still hiring and industries that are growing during this time.

If you’re in a mindset of scarcity and assume that “no one” is hiring right now, it will be difficult to find the motivation and energy to keep your job search moving forward.

Assume that companies are looking for someone with your skillset and stay open minded to consider companies and even industries you didn’t consider previously. Keep a daily log of your career actions to remind yourself of all the awesome progress you’ve been making! If you want a resource to get started, check out this example of a job search spreadsheet you can use.

New Year, (Somewhat) New You

Trying to find a new job during the holidays and new year can be stressful, but it can be done. Use resources like Savviest to get your resume in tip-top shape, search for jobs, manage cover letters, and track your applications.

Embrace the positive energy and hope that can come with the turning of the calendar year, and be kind to yourself if motivation is hard to come by right now. Good things are ahead, keep taking action and putting your best foot forward.

Megan Pritchett is the Head of Career Coaching at Savviest and founder of CareerDork LLC. She is a Graduate Career Advisor at the University of Denver and earned a M.S. in Career Counseling from California State University, Sacramento. Megan is passionate about increasing access to quality career coaching and helping others reclaim the hope that their work can be meaningful and purpose-filled.

Learn more about Megan on LinkedIn.