‘Tis the season… to land your next job!

At first glance the above statement might seem unrealistic… if not downright daft. After all, companies don’t do much hiring at the end of the year and most everyone appears preoccupied with gift giving, mistletoe, and parties. Yet there are a number of reasons why you should ramp up your job search efforts and take full advantage of all that December has to offer.

Here are 4 ways you can celebrate the season by being extra productive in your job search:

1. Recognize that your competition levels will plummet. The majority of jobseekers figure the holidays are a waste of time and make only marginal efforts to look for work. They opt to relax, sip their holiday cider, and gear back up in January. But their big mistake becomes your big advantage because opportunities for socializing and networking abound. With your job search goals in mind, you’ll be positioned to make a huge impact while your competition is taking a long winter’s nap.

2. January and February represent the strongest hiring period of the year. New projects, initiatives, and budgets are put into place and hiring generally takes off after the first of the year. Although not every January can promise a boom in the marketplace, by actively networking and positioning yourself as a valuable and enthusiastic candidate you’ll be well on your way to getting that all important call for an interview in early 2013.

3. There’s no better time of year to schmooze. Parties, gatherings, and community events are prime opportunities to press the flesh and tell your story. Resist the temptation, however, to deliver a rehearsed elevator speech unless you’re attending a formal industry event where such introductions would be commonplace. Even then, be certain to judge the mood of the merrymakers before you come across as too stiff or businesslike.

Usually in such circumstances, a lighter touch is best. When asked what you do, you might reply with an engaging one-liner that piques your listener’s interest. For example — one candidate I worked with was a buyer and replied: “I shop with other people’s money.” A similar attention-grabbing one-liner from you will get them asking for more, and then you can deliver a lengthier description of your skills and experience.

4. The holidays are a great time to get out there. Volunteering, seasonal hiring, and all sorts of opportunities present themselves for moving out of your immediate circle of contacts. Take advantage of as many of these as you can that will comfortably allow you time to pursue other holiday networking activities. Who knows whom you might meet and where such opportunities might lead?

Above all, commit to taking full advantage of this very special time of year; get out there and make your presence known as the competent, attractive, can-do candidate everyone wants to meet. Serendipity abounds in December. So as you celebrate, present yourself with confidence and anticipate success — you just might find yourself ringing in the New Year by landing a brand new job!

Mary Eileen Williams is a Nationally Board Certified Career Counselor with a Master’s Degree in Career Development and twenty years’ experience assisting midlife jobseekers to achieve satisfying careers. Her book, Land the Job You Love: 10 Surefire Strategies for Jobseekers Over 50, is a step-by-step guide packed with techniques that will help you turn your age into your advantage and give you the tools to successfully navigate the job market of today.

Photo ©iStockphoto.com/ PinkTag

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