Shopping. Spending. Crowds. Packed malls. 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.
For many of us, time evaporates, goodwill flows, activities distract and stress skyrockets during the holiday season, impacting our physical and emotional 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, this can be a challenging time of year to stay on track and enthusiastic about your search.
Yet, it’s also an excellent time to find a new job or career. Here are 10 tips to help you do that:
1. Get A Grip On Stress & Anxiety.
While yoga is my personal favorite stress-relieving go to, make sure you find one or more tools that suit you well. Meditation, 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! For tips on how to infuse mindfulness practices such as yoga, meditation and deep breathing, download my guide, Mind Over Scatter.
2. 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.
3. Work Your Plan.
The biggest cause of job- or career-change failure is not knowing what steps to take and in what order. (If you’re not sure, visit my site lovemonday.us and grab your free copy of the “7 Steps To Exceptional, Burst Out Of Bed Career Transformation: The Ultimate Career Changer’s Checklist!” to get you started).
While many folks are working fewer hours or gleefully enjoying vacation mode, December is also a great month to work through the necessary career-change steps carefully. Getting clear on what your mission, values, goals and strengths are now will allow you to clarify your personal brand and develop your indispensable holiday-networking elevator pitch. You’ll be well poised to glide through the rest of the steps post-holiday season.
4. Idea Swap.
Grab that Holiday Spice Flat White 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.
5. 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 appreciated.
6. Look Ahead.
Envision, specifically, your life one year from today. If you don’t know what city you’d really love to reside in, what type of social life you’d ideally like to have, what level of fitness you’d like to experience or exactly how you’d like your optimal workday to play out, you’re aiming at thin air. I know, I’ve been there. And I make pitstops there more often than I’d like.
The more precise our goals in terms of the eight primary aspects of our life, the more inspired and focused we will be to achieve them. 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.
7. Power Up Your Online Brand.
As you work your way through the 7 steps you need to take in order to achieve career transformation success, you’ll see that a big part of Step 5 is communicating your personal brand online in a consistent, creative and compelling way. The work you do in the steps building up to this point prepares you well for crafting these communications.
Even if 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.
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 and 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. I’m a big fan of theSkimm as it presents news in a succinct, appealing and nonpartisan way.
Knowing something about art, literature, music, global challenges, cultures, language, belief systems 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 plenty of events, writing holiday notes and holding lots 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 full throttle in 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 2018 and its 53 Mondays squarely in the butt.
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Now, don’t forget that the holidays 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.