It’s a common misperception that December is the “worst” time to look for work because of the holidays. But don’t let the holidays halt your job search! December can be a lucrative time of year for many job seekers, especially to improve skills, and to prepare and apply for jobs. This can give you an upper hand compared to many other job seekers that may be waiting until the new year to start their job search. Check out 7 things you can do every day to improve on your holiday job search.
#1. Identify and invest in your skills
Before you build or update your resume focus on identifying your hard and soft skills that have developed through your work experience. By doing this, you can identify which skills you need to advance through training and which skills can carry over into the position you are applying for. Once you figure out the skills you need to develop, you can discover free or paid options – the most important factor is taking the time to do this.
Here are some places to take free or affordable courses:
- LinkedIn Learning (login for free with your library card!) – https://www.linkedin.com/learning-login/go/gvpl
- University of Alberta (free open learning) – https://www.ualberta.ca/admissions-programs/online-courses/index.html
- University of Toronto (free open learning) – https://www.classcentral.com/university/utoronto?page=2
- University of British Columbia (free open learning) – https://pdce.educ.ubc.ca/open-learning/
- Mcmaster University (free open learning) – https://mi.mcmaster.ca/open-online-learning/
- Coursera (Free and paid options) – https://www.coursera.org/
- EdEx (Free and paid options) – https://www.edx.org/
#2. Build a solid resume & cover letter
If you haven’t updated your resume in a while, it might be worth refining before you apply to positions. You can build a solid resume by keeping it simple, sharing relevant information, focusing on accomplishments in your previous roles and avoiding too much personal information. Don’t forget your cover letter! Write an effective cover letter by highlighting your qualifications, education, experience and skills as well as make a connection between your resume and the job for which you are applying.
#3. Apply and network beyond online resources
Don’t get stuck doing your entire job search online, over 60% of available jobs are not advertised! Access the hidden job market by going beyond online job advertisements. You can tap into this market by traditional networking (like Chamber or business meetups), contacting employers directly, volunteering or even reaching out to neighbours, friends or family.
#4. Keep organized
Make a list and check it twice! When you are on the hunt for jobs, it can quickly become confusing as to which postings you have applied to. Keep track of the jobs you applied for with a simple word or excel document. You can also build on this document to add information about interviews with employers. Another way to stay on top of things is to save all the job descriptions in a folder on your computer so you can refer to them before and during your interview.
#5. Do your research
Doing your research prepares you for interviews but can also be a key indicator in knowing if the company you are applying for is the right fit. Knowing information about the company also gives you an upper hand in standing out from other applicants by emphasizing how your goals align with theirs during the interview.
#6. Prepare for interviews
Learn how to talk about yourself. Prepare an elevator pitch in which you can clearly and concisely communicate your skills. Talk about how these skills relate to the industries and roles that interest you. You can also prepare yourself by reaching out to your references for permission. There is nothing worse than giving references to a recruiter at the end of an interview and having them find out your reference does not work at the company or did not get your permission to be used.
#7. Be Kind to yourself
Life has changed drastically in the last few years and it’s easy to feel anxious. Stressing about whether your career is secure can be a consuming thought. It’s important to remember to practice self-care. Do things that make you happy and relaxed, like going for a walk with your dog, getting a massage, or even socializing with friends. Turning to hobbies you enjoy can also be an outlet for stress and a mood booster!