Many people may make the decision to slow down their job search activities during the holiday season. These people may think employers are too busy to think about hiring new employees because they are preoccupied with year-end tasks or are taking time off to spend with family and friends.
This is a mistake. The hiring process may slow down during the holidays but it does not stop. Companies are interviewing and extending offers to the most qualified candidates. Are you taking advantage of the opportunities resulting from the void left by job seekers who have abandoned their job search and headed to the mall?
An argument can be made that you may even benefit from pursuing your job search during the busy holiday season.
- There may be less competition for positions because many job seekers are on holiday.
- Some employers may be in a rush to onboard new hirers before the end of the year or immediately after the new year.
The holiday season is also a great time to refresh your job search efforts. You should review your marketing materials and business cards, reassess your short and long-term goals (including researching your target companies), update your resume and LinkedIn profile, and practice your interviewing skills and networking speech.
Here are a few thoughts you should keep in mind when practicing your interviewing skills.
- Interviewers will rate your educational background and prior work experience. They will want to know if you have (a) the appropriate educational qualifications or training for the position and (b) acquired, in your previous work assignments, the skills and qualifications needed to succeed in the position.
- Employers may also test your knowledge of the company. Have you researched the company prior to the interview? Have you looked on the internet, including the company’s website, read their Twitter feed and Facebook account, looked up comments from former employees on glassdoor.com, and read the interviewer’s LinkedIn page?
- Interviewers will be interested in how well you will fit with the company culture. They will be interested in your personality, manner, attitude and whether you made a good first impression. Be yourself and let your personality and charisma shine. You want to project a warm, open and accepting attitude that attracts others.
- Keep in mind that potential employers may want a candidate who works effectively with other. Are you able to convey to an interviewer that you have outstanding interpersonal relationship abilities and perception? Do you have an exceptional ability to organize your thoughts and make decisions which exhibit sound judgment and common sense? Are you a self-starter who can motivate others but recognize that there are times when team work is best?
- Do not forget your S*T*A*R* stories. Depending on the story you choose, you will be able to demonstrate to a prospective employer that you have the technical skills necessary for the position, good team building and interpersonal skills, a high degree of initiative, good management skills, a high level of customer service abilities, your greatest strengths, and the value that you will bring to the company. “S” stands for situation. You must describe the situation with enough detail so that the interviewer understands the specific event that was at issue.
“T” is the task you needed to accomplish.
“A” is the action that you took to accomplish the task.
“R” are the results that you achieved. The results do not have to be yours alone if you worked with a group to resolve the task.
Perhaps most importantly, the holidays offer the perfect opportunity to establish new connections and refresh your existing network. Use LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google to reconnect with distant relatives, former co-workers, neighbors, schoolmates and friends and to expand your network. Expand your network by meeting new people at holiday parties and your child’s year end school play or holiday concert.
Do not let the gifts of the season pass you by.
Now, get to it . . .