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Ask Donna: How can I keep my job search alive during the holidays?

ask donna job search advice Dec 12, 2022
sad elf

Dear Donna,

I’ve noticed that the amount of jobs posted online seems to dry up around the holiday season – I know I saw a definite drop in relevant jobs for me over Thanksgiving week. I’m worried I won’t be able to keep my job search alive during the pending holidays. So how can I make the most of this slow time of the year?

  • Not a Happy Elf


Dear Elf:

First of all, job boards and employment sites like Indeed should not be the number one focus of your job search, no matter what time of year it is. While this generates leads, they are just one piece of your entire job search strategy. Many employers hold off on posting jobs until January; however, this doesn’t mean your job search needs to go dormant. Instead, you should focus on other, more valuable aspects of your job search.

Here’s a great checklist to ensure you don’t lose traction for the rest of December…

  1.  Update your resume, LinkedIn, and cover letters

Now is the perfect time to update your materials. Styles and tactics change over time, so if you are still using an old resume, look at it with fresh eyes. Look at more than just the format and appearance. You want to ensure you pull the top keywords for your profession based on current job postings.

               Did you know that 90% of employers look at your LinkedIn profile? Yep. [Source: LinkedIn, 2016.] So, for this reason alone, make sure you are following the current best practices to optimize your profile and drive more recruiters to it.

  1.  Get involved on LinkedIn

Now that you updated your profile, so what? If nobody knows who you are, they have no reason to reach out to you. You need to build your reputation within your industry.

               This can be done in two ways: sharing or writing quality content and getting involved in the Groups.

First, if you are a great writer, start publishing articles or blogs on LinkedIn. If you aren’t, you can share other relevant articles. Don’t worry – it’s not copyright infringement, as the links always go back to the original article.

Speaking of the Groups, when was the last time you got involved in the discussions in your top Groups? This is another way to build your reputation and become associated with helpful opinions on relevant topics for your industry.

  1.  Take classes to fill in your knowledge gaps

Are you wondering how to do those steps for your LinkedIn account? Are you missing a vital skill for your target jobs? Now is the perfect time to take a quick class to fill in those gaps and make yourself a more valuable employee.

               I highly recommend checking out or other online learning sites. These websites feature literally hundreds of thousands of courses that are self-paced, video-intensive, and subject-specific.

               We offer job-search-specific courses on our website, including “LinkedIn Secrets for Job Seekers” and “Ace the Interview without Going Crazy.”

  1.  Get in touch with your current network

The holidays are an ideal time to tap your network on the shoulder and let them know two critical things: one, that you appreciate them, and two, that you are still looking for a position. Notice that the gratitude piece must come first. No one wants to be pumped for job leads in a Christmas card, but sharing a heartfelt note about how you value them can breed more goodwill.

  1.  Implement structured networking

Chances are that you have heard the rumor: up to 80% of jobs are found by networking. This is true to some extent, as networking includes contacting a hiring manager for a posted job to Aunt Martha, who saw a job on Indeed and forwarded it to you.

               Structured networking is about reaching out to people you don’t know yet. Think beyond the HR department or the key managers. Look for potential co-workers or contractors that can tell you more about the company and its culture. Thanks to such tools as LinkedIn, conducting structured networking is easier once you learn the tricks.

  1.  Spread some joy

Most of all, take some time for yourself this holiday season. Enjoy time with your family and friends. Eat that cookie and drink some egg nog. Along the way, reflect on all the positive things that happened this year and be grateful, no matter how small. After all, a light heart is very attractive – especially to employers.

And have a cool Yule!


Donna Shannon

Career Coach and Jingle Expert


Got a question for Donna? Just email your question to [email protected]

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