So here we are in December, and you find yourself smack dab in the middle of a holiday job search.

For most, the winter holidays are an enjoyable time for friends and family. However, job seekers have historically struggled during this time. They find that the volume of job advertisements and postings shrinks dramatically. Companies that had already initiated the hiring process of finding qualified candidates tend to slow the process down.

And it doesn’t hurt that you would rather be doing anything else but job hunting during New Year’s…

Job seekers are usually surprised by how slow things become, and for how long! The holiday doldrums usually start in mid-November and extend through at least mid-January. That’s about 10 weeks, over 2 full months, of time that many job seekers cannot get back. For someone out of work or anxious to move on to the next position, this can cause a significant amount of stress, to say the least, particularly because it is during a time of year that families tend to spend a large portion of their disposable income.

Overcoming the Holiday Hiring Lull

If you find yourself having to conduct a job search during the holidays, all is not lost! As many hiring managers, HR reps, and recruiters take vacations or simply allow things to slow down, most job seekers—especially your more passive job seekers—put their job search on hold until after the New Year. This creates some opportunities for candidates that are willing to be a little more aggressive.

There are companies out there hiring. You just need to go find them. If you let them come and find you, they won’t!

So, here are some steps you can take:

1. Be Proactive.

Do what most job seekers are not willing to do, even during the “peak” hiring seasons: Cold call. I can hear you now, saying “What? I’m not a sales person!” If you are not a “natural” sales person, then change the perspective a little bit. Call yourself an investigator. Do some research on companies in your geographic market and industry for whom you would like to work. Then call them. Find out the name of the person that oversees the department you would be interested in. Try to contact that person directly, thus avoiding the standard process of going through HR, which can take way too much time, especially at this time of year.

With LinkedIn, this process is made even easier as you can look up these people there and either message them or gain valuable info for when you do call.

2. Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile.

Most job seekers are underestimating the importance of their LI profile. They think just because they have one, they are all set. But with social recruiting on the rise, LI is being used more and more by recruiters for high-level keyword searches. And many candidates are frustrated that they are either getting contacts for ill-fitting positions or aren’t getting any calls at all. A lot of that has to do with how the profile is set up.

3. Engage a Recruiter Matching Service.

Yes, this might cost you a few bucks…but if you have ever spent much time sifting through technical recruiter after technical recruiter, you know just how time consuming and frustrating this process can be. With a matching service, you can let pros develop a strategy and narrow down your search to those recruiters best suited for you. And the cost is minimal. Here at NoddlePlace, we recommend an agency that has been effective for our clients for minimal investment. To learn more, contact us today.

4. Set Up Your Domain Name.

Many job seekers overlook this, but it is becoming an important tool in career management in general, but also for the active job search. Owning your own domain name is the beginning of managing your online reputation. See our earlier post to get more info.

So, as you work your way through your holiday job search, remember that all is not lost. It is a great time to get proactive and to make sure that your search has a well-planned strategy and execution.