Job Development: Tips for the Holiday Season and Beyond
Job development is about engaging with employers to create opportunities for our clients. I’ve worked for many years in not-for-profit employment services where I support clients of all abilities. It is my role to connect with employers and get jobs for my clients. Now that the holiday season is upon us, I’m reminded that it’s time to lay the groundwork for a successful 2022. I would like to share some job development tips for the holiday season and beyond. These tactics have worked for me and, more importantly, to the benefit of my clients.
The holiday season typically runs from the last week of November until a few days after the celebration of the new year. It is a time when we’re encouraged to wind down activities for the year, connect with family, friends, and colleagues, and get into the festive spirit. We can learn to use this time to our advantage — to be proactive and prepare for the new year.
This time of year presents opportunities for reaching out to employers, especially if they have not been contacted periodically throughout the year. Making the effort to connect with employers shows we care about them and value the relationships we have. It’s the perfect time to build new relationships or nurture the ones we’ve already established. This is important, especially if we do not have clients currently working for the company. And, in situations where our clients are employed, we have the opportunity to express our gratitude to their employers.
The best way to connect with employers is to meet with them in person, while maintaining COVID safety protocols. In-person meetings might work for many businesses, but this time of year has always presented challenges for getting together with employers in the retail and hospitality sectors because it is such a busy time. For these folks, it is best to set up meetings early in the new year.
Take advantage of virtual meeting platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and others when it is not possible to meet physically. If a virtual get-together isn’t possible, just making a phone call to an employer is a nice touch. Sending greeting cards is another way to show that we care and value our relationships.
Email can be effective for connecting with employers, too. It’s a great way to remind them about the supports and services we provide and present new or updated information. We can share practical resources — articles, tip sheets, videos, etc. — that contribute to their learning.
Seek New Opportunities
The holiday season has traditionally been about getting together in groups to share in the festive season. Meeting new connections in a casual holiday setting is one of the best ways to develop lasting relationships. However, as we’re all aware, the pandemic has brought changes regarding gatherings to make sure we are all safe. But, we can still reach out to our networks to get warm referrals to people who may potentially provide opportunities for employing our clients.
The holiday season is one of the best times of the year to reach out to employers to get our clients hired for new positions. Some job developers mistakenly believe hiring activities cease — until at least mid-January — during this time of the year. Employers needing to fill positions before the end of the year, or just wanting to start off the new year with new staff in place, will work through December to recruit and hire new team members. This time of year allows us take advantage of less competition to get our clients employed.
Business-related industry reports, journals, and periodicals provide insight into emerging trends and opportunities. Much of this information can be accessed online or through the public library system. We are fortunate to have access to labour market information at the federal, provincial, and local levels. The down-time of the holidays allows time for us to catch up on labour market trends, preparing us for the new year and making us more effective in serving our clients.
The pandemic brought challenges and dramatic changes to the way we do the work of job development and how we provide support to our clients. But, we need to give ourselves credit for what we have accomplished. The holiday season is a good time to record experiences, wins, and learnings and to build on them moving forward so that we become more effective in our work. There is so much that goes into balancing the needs of clients and employers in order to achieve successful placements Yet, we somehow managed to pull it all together. Drawing on energy, perseverance, dedication, and available resources, we facilitated successful placements throughout the year. This is cause for celebration.
Plan Ahead and Set Goals
The holiday season is an opportunity to think about where we want to go with our careers. It is a time to explore options for our professional development and self-improvement to make us more effective in our work and in serving our clients. Career Professionals of Canada has excellent courses that lead to industry-recognized certification and provide a toolkit of new skills that ultimately benefit our clients.
Professional development does not need to cost a lot of money. In the past year, I found valuable resources at the local public library in hard copy and digital format books. I was able to access online courses in written communication and professional sales to improve the way I present myself to clients and employers. These courses were facilitated by leading industry professionals.
The holiday season presents opportunities to reflect on the events of the past year and encourages us to plan and prepare for the coming year. Let’s set ourselves up for success by thoughtfully reflecting on the goals we’d like to achieve in the new year. Commit to these goals by making them realistic and specific and — most importantly — by writing them down.
We can effectively use the holiday season for job development purposes. It really is a good time to connect with employers, many of whom are feeling gracious and relaxed as the spirit of the season comes over them. They will remember the effort taken to reach out to them, to express gratitude for client placements, and to offer friendly but professional seasons greetings. Chances are good that they’ll remember the contact the next time they have positions to fill.
Let’s take care of ourselves, too. The holiday period can be used to improve the knowledge necessary for job development by using the time to research trends in various industries and the job market. We can plan for our professional development, building skills to make us more effective. Get off to a good start in the new year by reflecting, planning, and setting goals.
Brent Warman is a proud member of Career Professionals of Canada. He has extensive experience providing career coaching and employment services in the not-for-profit sector, at a post-secondary institution, and in private practice, serving clients from diverse backgrounds and all walks of life. Brent is a Certified Career Strategist (CCS) and a Certified Résumé Strategist (CRS) through Career Professionals of Canada.