December: A Great Time for Job-Seeking Clients
By Makeda Waterman, Guest Contributor.
There is a popular misconception that December is an unfavourable time for clients to find quality job opportunities. Clients may believe this for various reasons. They may think that most organizations do not have the budget at year end to hire new employees, that it is a busy time of the year for human resources to conduct interviews, or that the economy tends to slow down in December. All of these pre-conceived notions are often untrue and may be detrimental to a client’s job search.
According to Statistics Canada’s October 2017 Labour Force Survey, “Employment increased by 35,000 in October, and the unemployment rate rose 0.1 percentage point to 6.3%.” Clearly, the month of October was a popular time for job hunters out in the marketplace. Although 35,000 positions were successfully filled, the increase in the unemployment rate tells us that there were more people looking for work than there were jobs to go around.
Our clients may believe that there are optimal job-hunting “seasons” and that the year-end holiday period is not one of them. But career practitioners know that HR departments post new job opportunities throughout the year. Read on to learn why December is a great time to encourage clients to persevere in their search.
Job Seekers’ Competitive Advantage
In December, much of the workforce is looking forward to the upcoming vacation period and dedicates spare time to planning for the holidays. It seems that the idea of applying for a new job in December is not high on the priority list of the average job seeker.
The active job seeker can take advantage of the reduced competition, though. Help clients update and refresh their resumes prior to applying to positions in December. Their diligence might just garner the attention of potential employers.
Year-End Seasonal or Temporary Work
Your clients have family and financial responsibilities to focus on, especially during December’s holiday period. An unemployed client will be encouraged hearing from you that there are job opportunities to be had despite the time of year. One idea you can present is that a client considers pursuing temporary, seasonal work as this can potentially lead to permanent employment.
Another idea to share is that not-for-profit organizations search for volunteers to assist at food drives, food banks, meal programs, and fund-raising events for those in need. If your client lends time and energy to such organizations, this involvement may just lead to full-time employment in the new year.
Holiday Parties and Networking Opportunities
An advantage to meeting critical players in person is that clients are able to use social skills and personality to potentially further their careers at organizations’ holiday celebration events. A few December networking tips at such events include arriving with a positive attitude, dressing to impress, starting up a casual conversation with someone new, and being social and mingling with other guests. Share your business card only with those who request one.
Encourage clients to attend as many holiday events as possible. Once there, they should seek introductions to important and influential individuals and pursue conversations with them. Executives and management, aware of upcoming job openings, may be scouting for talent.
Jump-Start the New Year
Although year-end hiring activity may decrease as HR departments wind down in anticipation of the holidays, encouraging clients to submit applications in December might just give them a leg up in the new year. With fresh budgets and staffing plans set to roll out in January, the resumes of clients who applied for positions in December might just be sitting on top of the “call-for-an-interview” pile in early 2018.
Your clients depend on you for encouragement at a time when the prospect of securing a new job can appear bleak. You may sense a lack of motivation and interest from those who prefer to spend the month focusing on family and friends. However, clients may feel increased motivation once you explain the benefits of applying in December. Your encouragement may positively influence them to put in the time and effort to land a job.