Fix up your resume, start networking, and apply to jobs over the holiday break. Sound crazy? It’s not!

Believe it or not, December is a great time to look for a job. It may seem counterintuitive, but a significant number of companies wrap up their fiscal year in December. This is a huge benefit to job seekers for a few reasons.

  • The last of this year’s budgets for new positions are in a state of “use it or lose it” before the end of December.
  • Next year’s fiscal planning for new positions is generally completed for Q1. Many companies will open these jobs in December so that they are able to make a hire as quickly as possible in the new year.
  • This year’s projects are winding down, so hiring managers and interview teams have more time in December to concentrate on interviewing.
  • Timing does matter: usually you want to apply/get noticed as early as possible when a job opens. (Here is a recent article on LinkedIn from a hiring manager about his experiences). Tip: set up job alerts at your target companies.

Now is the Time to Network

With many positions to fill and many applicants, recruiters are looking for standouts in the crowd. We know that personal connections and introductions are an effective way to humanize your applications and that networking on LinkedIn works to do just that.

Keep in mind: while the advice to network is sound, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it.

Let’s start with the wrong way to network:

  • Reaching out to a recruiter at a company without qualifying them. Most recruiters have very specific types of positions or business units they recruit for, and the majority list those on their public profiles. Read their current job entry for where they work, what areas of the company they support, look at their activity/posting history. Often they will list the positions they are hiring for regularly.
  • Not applying to an open role before you start networking. If you reach out to a random recruiter at a company and they don’t hire for the jobs you are qualified for/interested in, without the job number/URL, they cannot even tell another recruiter that you are interested.
  • Contacting a recruiter with a generic “hi, I need a job” message. Be specific about what you are looking for.
  • Requesting a call with a recruiter. Recruiters or Hiring Managers are not going to be able to “jump on the phone with you” or “have a quick chat.” Use written communication and let them reply if/as they can.
  • Complaining about past jobs. Don’t make negative comments about your past employers or other organizations on social media. It never reflects well on you.

Here’s the right way to network:

  • Leveraging your relationships and existing connections. In order of usefulness to you from a job networking standpoint: someone you have worked with in the past that knows you and can submit you for an employee referral at their company; a hiring manager in your discipline/vertical; an upper level leader or executive with whom you have a bona fide relationship; a recruiter; an industry peer or personal acquaintance with a connection to any of the above that can give you a personal referral/introduction. 
  • Being specific about the job(s) you want. When you do reach out to someone, include a short note about the specific job(s) you are interested in and tell them why you reached out to them specifically. Include your resume.
  • Engaging and keeping communications open. Building up your network isn’t a one-and-done transaction. Take the time to check in on your connections periodically. Like or comment on any content they share, send them an article of interest, send them an email to wish them a happy holidays/new year/birthday or congratulations when you see they are promoted or hired into a new job. No one wants to believe you are using them only when you need something.
  • Being genuinely helpful to others. You can build goodwill by sharing job postings you hear about with your network.

A final note on applying to multiple jobs at one company, and how it impacts your chances to move forward. The answer depends a lot on the size of the company and the number of openings. Global companies usually have a large number of positions that are similar in different business units, so applying to several openings in different areas of the business shouldn’t be detrimental to your chances. Smaller companies may see a red flag if you apply for every job you feel you are even remotely qualified for, so be judicious and thoughtful. 

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Holiday Job Search and Internship Advice for College Students and Grads

This is the time when companies start ramping up their summer programs and spring campus/university hiring programs. If you are looking for internships or graduating in May or June, now is the time to start your search. Don’t wait until March or April! 

  • On LinkedIn, you want to look for Campus or University Recruiters by title. (Do not look for College Recruiters – this is generally a person that works for a school recruiting new students, often overseas.)
  • Check Vault, Wayup, InternJobs, and Internships, and CollegeRecruiter specifically for internships. 
  • Follow Lauren Berger, The Intern Queen on social media. 
  • If you are in the US from another country and will eventually need an H1-B, research companies that historically file applications, you can apply geography and specialty filters to narrow it down. 
  • Use your campus career center – they should keep a list of current and past companies that have hired before.

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Kristen Fife

Kristen is a Senior Recruiter in the Seattle area, as well as a writer and guest speaker.

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