Why December is a good time to job search

Written by Amie Gant, Career Center Communication and Design Assistant, Bachelor of Science, Professional Writing.

business woman in red dress smiling
image: GraphicStock

If you’re like most of us, the holidays are a time to slow down and take a good, long break from our hectic schedules. However, if you’re currently searching for a job, you might consider letting the holiday season help you kick-start your job search. While the holidays are notorious for their dramatic drop in hiring, don’t let this dissuade you from your search. The majority of job seekers consider the market to be “dead” during the winter festivities. Quite the contrary; December is actually the best time of the year to apply for jobs, and here’s why:

You’ll have less competition.
Because of the numerous job seekers who adopt an inactive, kick-back-and-relax attitude during the holidays, job seekers who remain active in their search will often find an open door with no waiting line. Because fewer people are applying for positions, it will be easier for you to stand out from your peers. The lull in applicants will allow recruiters to spend more time reviewing your résumé, and they will pay special attention to you in longer interviews.

Companies have left-over money in their yearly budgets.
There are open positions. In addition to the positions that naturally need to be filled, many companies have extra money in their budgets that they’re not aware of until the end of the year. This opens new positions and new hiring decisions. Generally, companies will post these new positions at the beginning of the new year, so getting noticed during the holidays will place you way ahead of other candidates.

The holidays provide excellent networking opportunities.
The holidays are an optimum time to network at company and community parties and events. Whether you are meeting new people or reinforcing your existing network, approach the topic of your job search lightly. You might mention the companies you’re targeting and that you would appreciate any thoughts or ideas at a later date, but then swing the conversation back to eggnog, and let it be. If they can help you, they will remember you. A lengthy conversation about your job search will only disrupt the holiday cheer. Be professional, but warm. Remember, although it’s a party, you’re on display, so minimize your alcohol intake and dress conservatively.

Reinforce your current network with holiday cards.

Write a heartfelt and appreciative holiday card to your professional contacts. While e-cards are definitely easier to send, taking the time to handwrite a personal note will make it more meaningful. Sending seasonal cheer to your professional contacts can have career-changing effects that may lead to internships, mentorships, freelancing opportunities, and job offers.

You should send cards to:

  • Current and former supervisors
  • Co-workers
  • Mentors and role models
  • Miscellaneous professional connections

In your card, refer to specific instances when your contact supported you. Don’t use the card as an opportunity to request a favor. Instead, express your gratitude for the positive influence they have had on your career. It will reinforce your relationship, and the next time you reach out for a favor, they will remember that you took the time to wish them happy holidays.

The holidays are a great time to slack off, and if you choose this route, you’re not alone. But if you’re interested in fast-tracking your job search, December is the time to do it. What better way to start the new year than with a new job?

Missouri State University Career Center holiday hours
By appointment only: Dec 14 – 18
Office closed: Dec 19 – Jan 3
By appointment only: Jan 4 – 8
Regular walk-in hours resume Jan 11.

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