Losing a job can be difficult to cope with any time of year but job loss around the holidays can prove even more complex due to a number of seasonal and personal factors. If you’re wondering how to move forward and when to jump back into the job search, taking time off may be a strategy you’ll want to consider. Here are a few pros, cons, and strategies to help you cope.
Why take advantage of holiday downtime?
All work and no rest is never good but it’s even worse if you’re having a hard time recovering from the shock of losing your job. Putting your job search on hold temporarily could be just what the doctor ordered in terms of taking time to regroup and get back in the game once the holidays are done.
The pros of putting your search on hold
As with anything as subjective as the job search, there are pros and cons of putting your search on hold. Here are a few pros for taking time off.
It rebuilds your confidence
One reason you may want to put your job search on hold during the holidays is your mental game. The job search requires a hefty dose of positivity and mental focus (both of which may be in short supply after becoming newly unemployed). Taking time off to enjoy the holidays and spend time with loved ones will help to build you back up so your confidence is intact when January rolls around. Find ways to stay positive. Here’s one video that might help you practice positivity. You may also want to try these 4 ways to deal with job loss.
Hiring is slow during the holidays
Another reason for putting the job search on hold is that of hiring seasonality. Hiring tends to slow during the holidays due to decision makers being out of office and general end of year wrap up. Hiring managers are also in holiday mode (aka holiday parties, vacation days, etc.). Since hiring managers won’t necessarily be beating the pavement to find the next hire you won’t be missing out on too much by taking a little break.
Make sure the next move is the right one
If you haven’t enjoyed your last job, industry or career path, the holidays can be a good time for some serious soul-searching to figure out your next move. The last thing you want to do is end up in another job that sucks the life out of you day after day, right? Using holiday downtime to focus on research and figuring out your next move will be much more beneficial than jumping into a fruitless job search. Try using these 5 tools I love for conducting career path research.
The cons of putting your search on hold
Your job search strategy is unique to you which means you’ll want to consider some of the cons that come along with putting the job search on hold around the holidays.
Loss of time
For starters, putting anything on hold means losing valuable time. It’s important to think of your job search as more than just hitting “send” when you come across jobs you want. The job search entails resume customization, a lot of networking, recruiter strategy and online branding (Linkedin) to name a few key activities. If you put everything completely on hold, you’ll be further behind in January than someone who hasn’t.
Try this bite-sized approach to saving time
Try to incorporate as much of your job search as you can, based on your unique situation. If you’re not sure what you want to do next, focus on soul searching and research. If you know your next move, focus on researching opportunities for which you’ll apply after the holidays. If your resume has never been customized, spend some time getting it right so it’s ready to go when you start applying. If you are feeling under-networked, spend some time finding the right contacts on Linkedin.
While you don’t have to necessarily jump guns-a-blazin’ into the job search, spending time on the right activities for you, will serve to help you gain time once you do jump back in.
Loss of motivation
Immersing yourself in holiday mode can also make it harder to get motivated and back into business as usual once the holidays pass. I’m of course referring to motivation. If you’re someone who finds it difficult to get motivated after vacation or even a long weekend, then taking a big break from the job search might do more harm than good.
Try this bite-sized approach to staying motivated>
Make a little time each day to have your head in the game so jumping back into the job search 100% after the holidays isn’t as difficult.
Loss of valuable networking opportunities
Holidays are synonymous with networking: holiday parties, extra festive socialization and family reunions are just a few of the venues where networking will be taking place for the days and weeks leading up to the new year. By avoiding networking during the holidays, you’re missing out on potential foot-in-the-door opportunities or chances for your contacts to leverage their holiday networking on your behalf.
Try this bite-sized approach to networking
If you’re not feeling up for in-person networking events at least spend some time reaching out to your current network on Linkedin. Instead of email blasting your network (btw a not the best approach to networking) try sending a personalized message to your contacts to share the latest on your career transition. Let your contacts know what you are hoping to do next because they won’t be able to help you if you aren’t specific in your request. You may also want to invite high-value contacts for a coffee or lunch to lay the groundwork for relationship-building (an important part of networking strategy). By doing something as simple as sending a short note, you are essentially putting yourself on a lot of radars.