Experts: Holidays can be best time to land a job - East Valley Tribune: Business

Experts: Holidays can be best time to land a job

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Posted: Wednesday, November 24, 2010 8:00 am

They don't generate many headlines, but there are folks getting hired these days. Even during the holidays.

Brandon Persinger is one of the lucky ones. After enduring two layoffs and more than 12 months of unemployment, the Elk Grove, Calif., resident recently landed a full-time IT consulting position.

"I can't tell you how great it feels to have a paycheck again," the 55-year-old former IT manager said.

Contrary to what many job seekers may think, the holidays can be the best time to get employed.

"Many job seekers make the mistake of putting their job search on hold during the holidays on the assumption that 'no one's hiring in December,'" said career consultant Naomi Kinert, owner of Career Focus in El Dorado Hills, Calif.

Given the number of job hunters who get distracted or discouraged at year's end, she noted, "those who stay in the (job hunt) game will have less competition" and potentially better odds of landing a permanent paycheck.

The holidays can be a good time to catch recruiters, hiring managers and others at work. "Oftentimes, work slows down a bit, the office is quiet and someone who normally wouldn't have time may have a few minutes to talk or respond to your calls or e-mails," said Kinert.

Use the time to request an informational interview, get your resume in front of hiring managers, or just seek advice about the company culture and opportunities that might be available.

And always conclude any job-related conversation on two notes: An appreciative thank-you for taking the time to talk. And a request for recommendations of other people who could be helpful.

"You always want two or three other names to connect with ... to build a chain of contacts," Kinert noted.

Not everyone is comfortable on the business social circuit, but holiday gatherings -- from professional association to chamber of commerce mixers -- can put you in front of people who can help.

Some job seekers want to hunker down behind their PCs, which is the reverse of what they should be doing: getting out there and socializing, says Kinert.

"Don't be embarrassed by your situation," said Kinert, who recommends having a 30-second standard greeting that's positive and informative. When asked about your job, for instance, say: "Most recently I was with Intel in Folsom, where I did XYZ, but my whole department was downsized. So now I'm excited about new possibilities, either at VSP or HP or ABC company."

But don't show up with a stack of resumes, said Ford R. Myers, a Philadelphia career coach and author of "Get the Job You Want Even When No One's Hiring."

Instead, bring a "simple, tasteful business card" with your name, phone number and e-mail address. "It will leave a better impression than a resume at these events, which are more social in nature," he said.

Helping others can help you, in more ways than one, say hiring coaches.

Serving meals at a church shelter, helping build a children's center or handing out canned goods at the food bank can put you right alongside a CEO or hiring manager of a company you're interested in, said Helen Scully, president of Scully Career Associates in Folsom, Calif.

Job websites like CareerBuilder.com and Monster.com are good places to post your resume, said Scully, "but you have to refresh it every week, because many recruiters only search for the most current resumes."

To find openings, she recommends a "power job search" site like Indeed.com that aggregates listings from multiple sites.

Even during the holidays, create a structure to your day and follow a schedule, suggests Scully. "Set some tangible targets: 'At 8 a.m., I'm going to start looking, take an hour for lunch, finish up at 3 p.m. I'm going to set up five face-to-face meetings a week.'"

Another tip: Find a "job-search buddy," someone to encourage you and to commiserate with. It doesn't have to be someone in your same field, but someone to help you stick to your goals.

Sebd a holiday greeting to everyone on your networking list, said Myers. Pick a nonreligious card that's seasonal but professional, he said. Don't write about your job search, but acknowledge the person's advice, support or friendship.

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