Ask Jen

’Tis the Season to Job-Search: 10 Tips

Dear Jen,

I’m thinking about doing a job-search—though I heard that December is not the best time to conduct one, given the holiday season. But someone recently told me that December is the busiest time for hiring. Should I search now or wait until January?

—Puzzled in Pittsburgh


Dear Puzzled,

In my 20+ years working with employers, experience tells me that few employers hire during December. That said, I’ve seen a small surge in December hirings over the last three years. But historically speaking, not much happens until the first quarter of the calendar year. I suggest you take this time during the holiday season to prepare for a full-on job-search come January.

Here’s a checklist of what you can do in December:

  • Get professional help—for example, by signing up for a First Impressions: Résumé & Cover Letter webinar
  • Revise your résumé and cover letter (a combination résumé is best) and have it critiqued
  • Get your references in order and prepare your references page
  • Prep for the behavioral/situational interview: create a “review sheet” on you, listing experiences and situations that illustrate your skills, expertise, previous successes, and how you would perform in the future
  • Prep for finance, brainteaser, or case-study questions if your industry requires it
  • Practice interviewing with friends, in the car, or in front of the mirror; record yourself
  • Pull together writing samples if you are applying for writing or communications positions
  • Compile a web portfolio with creative samples, graphic designs, your résumé and recommendations, and artwork if you are seeking creative positions
  • Schedule and conduct information sessions (over coffee or lunch) with professionals in fields you might be interested in. Having trouble finding contacts? Try the Texas Exes Career Network and use the Alumni Directory to email them for free.
  • If you are targeting certain companies or organizations, identify alumni there and conduct information sessions with them now. When openings arise later, you’ll have a contact on the inside who may be willing to forward or hand-deliver your résumé.

Waiting until January will put you behind the curve in the job-search. It’s best to get your ducks in a row now so that you can hit the ground running in the new year!

Hook ’em!


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