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‘Tis the Season to...Boost Your Job Search

Stand out among the crowd this holiday.

It might sound surprising. But If you're tired of job searching and are thinking you might as well wait until January 1st to resume your efforts, you might want to think again. Now is a great time to network and even stand out—by following up on those job openings you've been eying. During the holidays, many managers who've put hiring on the backburner, will now have time to attend to it. Granted, this is certainly not a boom time for adding staff, but there are still openings to fill. And this slower pace can help you get faster responses. That is, if you're visible.

Holiday Job Search Tips

• Be Extra Social - Ramp up your visibility on social networking sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Most people are in the mood to connect socially over the holidays, so it's the perfect opportunity to renew old acquaintances and get job leads. While you're catching up, briefly mention that you've been job seeking and your career goals. People generally want to help and might lead you to you a new job opening.

• Party with a Purpose - Be prepared during parties and holiday events to present your professional self. You might run into your prospective boss. And you don't want to trip over him or her after too much bubbly. Have your business cards at hand, even if they just have your contact information. And keep your dress code on the mild side.

• Type AND Talk - Typing out the perfect e-mail can get the hiring manager's attention, but don't stop there. With the holiday slowdown, now's your chance to try and get through on the phone. Your potential boss or hiring manager may just pick up if the receptionist is out or if the office is thinly staffed. But don't overdo it; it's just worth trying once.

• Be a Holiday Helper - Don't show up to your prospective employer as Santa—but do go to your potential employer's website and see what charities they sponsor. Consider volunteering at the more popular venues. Be seen as much as possible at charity events, community gatherings, holiday fairs, job fairs and so on. The more people you meet, the better your job search opportunities.

• Beware of the Grinch - Whether out meeting people face-to-face or networking online, find out about the corporate culture of the prospective employer and hiring manager specifically. Is he or she what I call a Terrible Office Tyrant (TOT)? It's going to be your job, so don't ruin your future happiness yourself by working for a Grinch.

• Casual Caution - When you get a holiday interview and the interviewer says, "No one's around so just dress casually," don't show up in your holiday Rudolph sweater with the blinking nose. First impressions count for a lot, so avoid becoming "too memorable." A blazer is appropriate and shows respect, even if the boss says, "we're all wearing jeans here."

• Patience - a Virtue - If you don't get that returned call in December, be patient. There are usually additional layers in the hierarchy involved in a hiring decision. "After the holidays" has also become a common part of the business lexicon, especially for top decision makers who are typically scarce for much of the holiday season.

So while others are just wrapping up gifts this season, you could also be wrapping up solid interviews. This season, boost your job search efforts while managers have more time on their hands. You could be closer to getting the best gift ever; a great job.

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