Ah, the holidays. A time of shopping, anxiety, and family drama. Why not add a job search on top of all that?

True, the holidays don’t make the ideal time to search for a new position. You’re distracted by personal and family considerations. At the same time, potential employers often slow down their operations due to vacations or to remain focused during a spike in demand.

That doesn’t mean you can put your career development on hold for the last two months of the year. If you’re out of a job, you need to find employment as quickly as possible, holidays or not. Even if you have a current gig, you don’t want to sacrifice momentum to wait for the new year.

So what can you do? Here’s what you should expect from hiring managers during the holiday season and how to make the most out of the situation:

What to Expect from a Holiday Job Search

Technically, the holidays represent a terrible time to look for a new job. The numbers show that hiring managers usually close up in the final months of the year, only to come back strong in January and February.

Does that mean coal in your stocking, at least in terms of career development? Not necessarily. But it does mean you have to approach the season in a targeted way.

Tips for Making the Most of Your Holiday Job Search

Once the calendar turns to November, you have to start taking the holidays into account. Your job search might be bumpy over the next several weeks. Still, there are some steps you can take to smooth things out:

Start Early

The holiday season gets more complicated as you move toward the end of the year. Around Christmas and the week before New Year’s, few companies are going to make meaningful decisions. At a certain point, hiring managers will just wait until January to consider candidates.

With that in mind, you can increase your chances by starting your search as soon as possible. This will increase the odds that a decision will be made before the holidays get intense. At the same time, an early start recognizes the longer timelines that might prevail during the period surrounding Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Don’t Shy Away from Seasonal Work

Not every company shuts down for the holidays. Rather, some businesses experience their busiest parts of the year. Some of the world’s largest companies, from Amazon to Walmart to UPS and FedEx, will expand their workforces during the last few months of the year.

This creates an opportunity for you. At the very least, you can earn a check while you continue your search for a more permanent position. Meanwhile, you can often leverage these short-term gigs into staff jobs in the new year by impressing your managers and getting a foot in the door.

Don’t Get Rigid

Don’t expect a clockwork hiring process during the holidays. To keep the gears turning, stay open to alternative meeting times and get used to choppier communications.

This flexibility will make it more likely that a decision will be made in a short period of time. Meanwhile, your adaptability will endear you to prospective employers.

Get Ready for Next Year

Hiring will pick up again in January. If you don’t get an offer before the end of the year, keep your head up. The groundwork you laid during the holidays will likely pay off when everyone gets back to their normal schedules.

In the meantime, take advantage of the season. Go to holiday parties. Send Christmas cards. You’ll have a good time and spread holiday cheer. Plus, the extra networking can’t hurt.

Want to speed up your job search this holiday season? Turn to SmartTalent to find the perfect position for you.

Contact SmartTalent today to learn more.

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