Sometimes the holidays are hard. I've noticed that as I get older, the fun-filled days of Christmas movies and present wrapping have been replaced with the 'race to get s*!t done' before the end of the year. The period from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day can be especially daunting for job seekers. Offices pretty much shut down. No HR manager is reviewing applications. And you're certainly not going to be invited in for an interview.
This can be really tough if you're eager for that call back. It's one thing for people to say, "Oh, just enjoy your time off." Unfortunately our brains don't work like that. Here are a few ways to stay engaged in the job search without going insane from the waiting game...
Keep Your Options Open
Even if you think you've found THE ONE, don't stop looking for others (this, by the way, should never be mistaken for dating advice). It takes an average of 3-9 months for job seekers to land a new gig. That means a) the competition is tough and b) you need to apply to more positions than you think. Getting your heart set on a single position and waiting it out is a recipe for disappointment.
Polish Your Online Presence
There are always those things on our to-do lists that never seem to get done. Updating our LinkedIn profile sits pretty high up there. Take this downtime to update your profile pic, revamp your summary section, and collect recommendations from former supervisors and colleagues. Thinking about starting an online portfolio? This is the perfect time to do so. Get started for free on Wordpress or for a small fee set up a customizable Squarespace site. Use these sites to house your best accomplishments - projects, writing samples, and awards.
The end of the year is a great time to send thanks to those who have help guide you over the year. This could be a teacher, supervisor, or other mentor. Write them a thank you note and let them know you are currently job searching. Be specific about what you're looking for and don't hesitate to ask them to keep you in mind if anything related comes their way. Just make sure you're sincere with thanks BEFORE you make your ask!
Take a Break
For all of us Type-A personalities, it can be REALLY hard to stop working at something when we haven't accomplished our goal. Sorry, but this one is out of your control. If you're keeping up with the other items above, it's just as important to take your sights off of the job hunt for a bit. This is especially true if you've been searching for a while. It can be frustrating. And this frustration can lead to resentment. You don't want employers to sense this about you. So take some time to fill up - get outdoors, go to happy hour, or read a book for fun (whaaaat!?).
Follow Up in January
Everyone needs the first week of the New Year to get re-acclimated to office life. After that it's fine to follow up. One caveat - you should only follow up if: the job has been posted at least 30 days OR the "apply by" date has expired by at least two weeks. Yes, you're eager to hear back, but you don't want to be viewed as impatient. In the meantime, keep up with the above strategies and start brushing up on your interview skills. You're bound to hear back soon!
Tell me, how else do you stay energized and engaged when you're in a career rut?