Amid a rocky holiday season, many people may be apprehensive about moving forward with a December job search.
But with several of us opting to stay home due to the pandemic this year, commitments like travel and family gatherings have been put on hold.
That's all the more reason to take advantage of this downtime to ensure a strong start in your job search come January and February — two of the best months for getting hired.
Here's what you should be doing right now to boost your chances of landing your dream job in 2021:
1. Dust off your resume and LinkedIn profile.
What paid or unpaid projects did you take on? Any side hustles? Volunteer work? Online courses to further enhance your professional skills?
Anything you did to benefit yourself or your community is worth mentioning, and will make you stand out from other candidates.
2. Up your networking game.
People are more accessible this holiday season, making it a perfect opportunity to reconnect with contacts who have fallen silent in your professional rolodex.
But don't start your message indicating that you're desperate for work. Let the conversation flow naturally. Send holiday e-greetings to former colleagues. Ask how they're doing and let them know you're thinking of them. The goal is to keep your relationships intact.
Also, research professional associations in your industry to see what virtual networking events are taking place in the coming weeks. Many of these are free to attend.
3. Stay on top of job listings ... and start applying.
Spend a few minutes each day to check newly listed jobs. Bookmark the career pages of companies you want to work for. Set up job opening alerts on Google, LinkedIn and Glassdoor.
If you come across an opportunity that interests you, go on LinkedIn to see if you have any contacts at that company who can help connect you with the right person.
Once you've applied for the job, do a bit of research to find out who the hiring manager responsible for filling the position is. Again, with all the downtime, you'll be more likely to receive a quick response.
4. Be patient and positive.
During the holiday season, companies are finalizing their business and budget goals for the New Year, which often include increasing the job force and closing out final deals.
But keep in mind that a company's hiring is contingent on needs, irrespective of the time of year. So don't feel discouraged if your dream company isn't hiring.
Instead, maintain a positive attitude. Listen to motivational podcasts, read books, journal your goals and stay productive. The last thing you want is to head into 2021 with a defeated mindset.
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