5 Tips to Maintain Job Search Momentum Over the Holidays

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Most people are tempted to take a job search hiatus over the holidays. If you’ve been searching for a while, you may feel it’s time for a break. If you’re just getting started, you may think the holidays are not the best time. Regardless of your reason, I’d urge you to reconsider.

Are companies actually hiring right now?

Yes! Many companies are hoping to wrap up their hiring processes before the end of the year. As a result, they are busy reviewing applications and interviewing. It’s also a good idea to get your applications submitted now, so you’re not part of the massive application drop that typically happens in January. As with most things in life, the effort you put in now will manifest itself in the new year.

Maintaining Momentum

Job search fatigue is a real thing and it’s ok to take a break from the application grind. That being said, there are still a lot of ways to keep your job search top of mind and make progress. Here are five things you can do over the holidays to maintain job search momentum.

1. Tell people about your search

Tell family, friends, and even new acquaintances that you’re conducting a job search. Talking about your search has multiple benefits. First, it gives you experience explaining what you’re looking for which is excellent interview practice. Second, it often results in a helpful tip, the name of a company to check out, or at the bare minimum a promise to keep you in mind if they hear of anything.

2. Use the holidays as a conversation starter with key contacts

Now is the perfect time to reach out and wish someone a happy holiday season. If you haven’t already lined up 3-5 professional references, contact former managers and colleagues to fill them in on your search and ask if they’ll serve as a reference for you. If you’re transitioning to a new field, schedule informational interviews or virtual coffee chats to learn more about your new path.

3. Brush up on technical skills

Find the most common skills required for your target position by reading multiple job descriptions. Then, get to work on any gaps! You may know how to use basic Excel, but maybe you could use a tutorial on how to create a pivot table to analyze data. Or, perhaps you used HTML in a former position but need to refresh your memory on certain aspects. It would also be a good time to familiarize yourself with collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams and Slack. Remote work is changing the way colleagues communicate, so it’s important to have a rough idea of what’s out there.

4. Give yourself a LinkedIn check-up

In addition to updating your resume or drafting cover letters, take this time to refresh your LinkedIn profile. Have you been putting off writing the About section or adding your most recent position? Have you maxed out the Skills section with 50 relevant skills? If your profile is complete, ask people to write a recommendation or endorse you for skills. I’d also suggest setting up a job alert, going to the UMass Lowell page to identify alumni in your field, and seeing if any of your connections work for your target companies.

5. Put your interview skills to the test

Make sure you’re ready for all those interviews you’re going to get in the new year (the power of positive thinking, right?!). It’s important to practice your responses out loud and to be aware of any nonverbal behavior that might be distracting. I highly recommend visiting the UMass Lowell Career & Co-op Center to schedule a practice interview, but there are other options as well. You can film yourself on your smart phone, sit down with a friend, or use LinkedIn’s Interview Prep tool.

The Bottom Line

Whatever you do this holiday season, the bottom line is just keep going! If you totally check out for the next month, you’re going to lose steam and it’ll be that much harder to jump back in. Job searches take time and can be frustrating, but consistent effort is sure to pay off in the long run.

By Catherine McLean
Catherine McLean Coordinator, Cooperative Education