Shopping. Spending. Crowds. Masks. Packed stores. Wrapping. Packing. Travel. Family. Extended family. Christmas cards. Secret Santas. Cookies. End-of-the-year project deadlines. Holiday parties. Cold weather. Short days. Flu season. More spending. More cookies. Another year passing. Another year looming.
Not exactly a dull time of year!
During the holiday season, goodwill flows and festivities abound. Yet at the same time for many of us, time evaporates and stress skyrockets, impacting our health, happiness, relationships, work performance … and job search.
Stressed or not, if you’re in the midst of a career change or just starting the hunt for a new job, it’s easy to lose focus during the holidays. Perhaps it’s the stress of an impending New Year, the flurry of social obligations, and the pressure of family obligations and expectations. Or maybe it’s the pull of activities that seem a little more fun — hot cocoa, sledding, snuggling up with your loved ones to watch It’s A Wonderful Life.
There’s a good chance it’s a combination of both. Either way, it can be a challenging time of year to stay on track and enthusiastic about your job search. My best advice is this: Take a deep breath and be deliberate in your decision to either:
A) Relax, enjoy the holidays and give yourself a fresh start at the top of the New Year.
B) Identify a handful of activities you can do before the New Year that will let you maintain your job search momentum while still enjoying holiday time.
Choose the path that’s best for you! The most important thing is to make your choice intentional so you don’t disperse your energies and focus. You definitely don’t want to feel like you should be wrapping gifts while you’re researching job opportunities, and you don’t want to feel like you should be polishing your resume while you’re visiting with family.
Unless you are precise with and committed to how you will spend your time, neither the holidays nor your search will get the best version of you. You’ll run the risk of getting sloppy and frustrated with your job search and disappointing family.
To help you choose your right path, here are 10 different ways you can infuse aspects of your job search into your schedule over the next couple of weeks. See which appeal the most, and go forth merrily!
1. Get Calm & Carry On.
According to a poll by verywellmind.com, more than 80% of us find the holiday season to be ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ stressful. And we know undertaking a job search or career change is also stressful, so it’s paramount you manage your stress and anxiety to the best of your abilities.
While yoga and meditation are my personal favorite stress-relieving tools, make sure you find what suits you well. Deep breathing, exercise, healthy eating and solid sleep can all help reduce boost your joy, physical and emotional health, decision making, mood, creativity, time management, relationships and therefore, your job search!
2. Work Your Plan.
The biggest cause of job search or career change failure is not knowing the right steps to take in the right order. ** After establishing a calm mindset, your next step is to discover more about yourself.
If you haven’t tackled this important step yet, grab yourself a mug of hot cocoa and spend time getting clear on what your mission, values, goals and strengths are. This will allow you to clarify the type of work you’re really after. It will help you hone your personal brand and develop your indispensable elevator pitch. You’ll be well poised to glide through the rest of the job search steps post-holiday season.
** If you're not sure of what steps you need to take, grab The Love Monday Roadmap, a free one-page infographic that shares all the steps and features multiple links for extra info.
3. Power Up Your Online Brand.
If you tackle idea two and want to take that work a little further, think about how you can communicate your personal brand online (once you've honed it) in a consistent, creative and compelling way.
Even if you’re not sure how to do this or you’re not yet to this stage, what you can do now is explore the social media of people you admire in your field. What are they tweeting and how often? How do they come across on LinkedIn? Are they adding to the conversation or is their activity underwhelming? Take notes regarding who and what impresses you and why so that when you are ready, you have some firm ideas when it comes time to make your online presence stellar.
4. Say Yes To Holiday Gatherings.
The holidays are a wonderful time to reconnect with former colleagues or friends you might not see often so say yes to cocktail parties, holiday dinners and cookie swaps. While you want to keep the atmosphere light and social, you never know who might spark an idea, have a connection that could be beneficial, or have insights on open roles or upcoming expansions. Be certain, of course, to make this connection a mutually beneficial one and offer to be of help in return.
5. Idea Swap.
Grab that Holiday Spice Flat White or cappuccino and buy one for your well-connected uncle or your sister’s friend who works in marketing like you’d love to. The holidays are the ideal time to find ways to spread holiday cheer, conduct informational interviews, exchange ideas and feed off others’ energy and success.
6. Spread The Cheer.
Keep the cheer spreading by using this opportunity to send holiday greetings. When done thoughtfully, it’s the perfect way to reconnect with people you haven’t talked to in awhile or to strengthen relationships with individuals in your network. An actual, hand-written card will be most appreciated.
7. Look Ahead.
Envision your life one year from today. If you don’t know how you’d like your optimal workday to play out, what city you’d really love to reside in, what type of social life you’d ideally like to have or what level of fitness you’d like to experience, you’re aiming at thin air. I know, I’ve been there more than once!
The more precise our goals are in terms of the eight primary aspects of our life, the more inspired and focused we will be to achieve them — and to find work that allows them to blossom. How will you feel if nothing has changed between now and the next 365 days? Now’s a great time to clarify those visions, keep them in front of you and take steps toward them continually.
8. Get Even Smarter.
Now’s the time to broaden and deepen your knowledge on current events and key facts all professionals should know. Read, listen to and watch news and glean information from all over the political spectrum. Take pride in learning fundamentals such the world population, U.S. population, U.S. debt, who your state’s governor is, when major wars took place, etc. Read about topics that typically make you turn the page.
Knowing something about art, literature, music, global challenges, cultures, language, belief systems, personal development and pop culture will make you a more interested and more interesting person and one who can carry on a conversation with all different types of people. You also will expand your knowledge of societal needs and opportunities, which could have a direct impact on your work life, altruism or volunteerism.
9. Shore Up Your Skills.
While attending festive gatherings, writing holiday notes and holding oodles of wide ranging conversations, you’ll be gaining loads of practice with soft skills such as interpersonal skills, listening skills, writing, body language, and possibly time management, decisions making and communication.
What other skills can you add or strengthen? What books can you read? Is there a webinar you could take? A workshop you could attend? A freelance or volunteer project you could tackle? December is prime time for discounts and holiday special pricing on everything from certificate programs to Kindle books, and volunteer needs are high so determine what you need to learn, what value you can add and how best to do that.
10. Enjoy Your Edge.
Many people hit pause on their job search or career change efforts in December because they are burned out or believe the myth that companies aren’t hiring now. If instead you engage in any of the nine tips above, you’ll not only be several steps ahead from the others who are competing with you for positions, but you also might land one of the many open positions that hiring managers are eager to fill before the end of the year. At the very least, you will be ready to kick 2023 and its 52 Mondays squarely in the bottom.
• • • • • • •
Remember, the holidays can present a huge opportunity to enjoy your loved ones! Use your time wisely, and you can make progress on your job search AND spend lots of quality cozy time with the people and pets who mean the most. Feel good about what you're doing, and give yourself a big hug for being intentional with your efforts.
P.S. For more on how to pursue your dream job and develop your dream-job resume effectively, check out the brand new release "Resume Reglow: The 7 Principles You Need To Know For A Powerful, 2023 Dream-Job Resume."
Trie Angeleva LOVES helping people Reimagine Monday. A mindful Dream-Job Career Coach, she's a proud adopted-dog mom, former CIO and COO, travel-happy yogi and founder of The Love Monday Method. She developed and taught Career Success Preparation for The Media School at Indiana University, where she taught 21 classes. Trie has two Master's degrees, six coaching certifications and a certificate in Executive Leadership from Cornell University. Follow her on instagram at @reimaginemonday for tips and strategies on how to land work you love and thrive personally and professionally.
If you're stuck in YOUR dream-job search, Trie's got you covered! For recent and soon-to-be college students, she's got a free checklist you will LOVE. For pros in their prime, who need a little clarity figuring out what to do when in their search, Trie has a short, sweet and super succinct free roadmap that maps out all the steps to take in what order. Best wishes and reach out with any questions.