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The festive season is upon us and most of us are looking forward to a well-earned break to rest and catch up with friends and family – even if some of us are having to do that virtually. There is a tendency to see this period as “downtime”, and so it should be; you have worked hard for it all year after all. And what a year it has been.

However, if you are already dreading going back to work before the holidays have even started, next year could be time for a change – and it’s therefore important you use this free time strategically.

Despite all the distractions of the festive period, if you really are committed to finding yourself the perfect job in 2021, you must take a proactive approach to job searching during at least some of your time off.

There are probably various myths you may have heard about the effectiveness of job searching over the festive period. Many believe that job searching over the holidays is a pointless exercise. However, don’t let these perceptions deter you. In this blog, I want to dispel these myths in favour of the reality.

Myth #1: I should switch off my work brain


As I mentioned, this is the end of a long year. A lot of people want to completely switch off their brain from anything work related and just relax.

The reality: Turn it down, don’t switch it off


Yes, the festive period is a time to wind-down mentally – this is important, and everyone needs a break. However, you also deserve to enjoy your job next year. Therefore, you should turn down your business brain, but don’t switch it off completely.

This is the perfect time to reflect on the year gone by. What have you enjoyed about your work or your job? What have you disliked? Which goals did you set for yourself at the beginning of the year, and have they been achieved? Use these answers to guide you towards your next adventure.

Myth #2: Job searching will get in the way of my plans


In a similar vein to the above, you will have planned to relax during this period by catching up with friends, family, even TV shows! You won’t be the only one who intends to spend the festive period eating, drinking and being merry.

The reality: You can do both


Set some time aside to search for jobs, even if it’s just a couple of hours for your first few days off. Do this right at the beginning so it’s out of the way early and you can relax for the rest of the time, and do this at a time when you are most productive – such as first thing in the morning.

You can get a lot done in two hours, even if it is from the comfort of your sofa whilst eating mince pies. You’re still getting a good end of year break, but whilst investing your time in the year ahead. My colleague Marc Burrage has some great advice on how to save time during your job search here.

Myth #3: Lots of other people will be job searching – there will be too much competition


Even if you are sold on the idea of job searching over the festive period, surely every other job seeker is using their time off to do the same?

The reality: You will actually have a head start


In actual fact, many job seekers will put off job searching over the festive period. Others will postpone job searching until the New Year, typically associating it with “new year’s resolutions” as opposed to festive activity. Therefore, you can get a head start on the competition by updating and sending out your CV as soon as you start your Christmas break.

Myth #4: No one will look at my CV over the festive period


As recruiters and their clients wind down towards the Christmas break, job seekers make the assumption that there is no point updating their CV or applying for roles, because no one will read it.

The reality: Your CV will stand out more


Whilst many departments will be starting to slow down, senior stakeholders, including hiring managers, will likely still be checking their emails. What’s more, these stakeholders will probably be feeling less busy, and therefore more receptive to the applications that are sent through. Therefore, this is your chance to grab their attention during their quietest period.

Myth #5: No one hires in the New Year


Following the festive break, many companies hit the ground running in January. They often get caught up in other elements of the business, such as reassessing sales targets, looking at new marketing strategies plus other workplace needs. Some take this to mean that expanding the workforce is lower down on the priority list; therefore, your application that you worked so hard on over Christmas may get ignored.

The reality: Yes, they do!


January can also be peak time for hiring the people to implement these new workforce needs, especially if companies have just been given their annual hiring budget. In addition, hiring decisions won’t get made if certain people aren’t working. January is when key decision makers return from their Christmas break; ready to lead the business into the New Year.

In summary, the festive period is the perfect time to job search. Everybody is less busy – including yourself. You have a head start on the competition, plus your CV will stand out more. Remember it’s all about balance, so make sure you still wind down and take a well-earned break – with a view of achieving career success in 2022.

What’s next?


Now you are ready to begin your festive job search, follow the below steps:

  1. Ask yourself what it is you want from your new job. What kind of role do you want to have in 2022? Is it the same or different to your current role? What type of boss and employer do you want to work for?
  2. Use these answers to steer your search, and start looking on your local Hays website, job boards and LinkedIn.
  3. Tailor your CV to the keywords listed on the desired job adverts that come up, and make sure it is up to scratch with the latest CV standards.
  4. Strategically reach out and network with relevant contacts who could help you with your job search.
  5. Brush up on your interview skills, so that when you get that call from a client or recruiter inviting you to an interview to discuss the role further, you are ready to wow them!