Is it Worth Applying to Jobs During the Holidays?

The holiday season has been a tricky time to find a new job in years past. The post-pandemic employment landscape is different than holidays past. Here is what you need to know about whether the timing is right for you to find a new job.

Taking time out of the busy holiday season to apply to jobs can seem unbearable to some. Everyone has heard of the holiday hiring freeze, but is that still true post-pandemic? Here is what you need to know about applying to jobs in the remaining weeks of 2021.

Holidays Past

In years past, it wasn't uncommon for companies to delay hiring until the new year because of budgets. People would also hold off on starting new jobs because of year-end bonuses. These factors would often result in the slowing of job postings and interviewing during this period between Thanksgiving and New Years. And, the jobs historically posted during this time would be for jobs that started after the first of the year or that were temporary/seasonal. And, it was rare for offers to be made for permanent roles or for someone to start unless there was an urgent need.

Holidays Present

However, 2021 is proving to be a year like no other. The Great Resignation kicked into high gear in August, 2021 and people continue to quit in record numbers. And, 40% of people in the US report that they are looking for or are open to a new job. There are lots of reasons why that is, but it also means that there is a lot of activity in the market right now.

In fact, the US hasn't seen movement like this in the talent market. It also means that there is tremendous opportunity for job seekers right now. There are openings at every level of organizations. And, companies that are growing are using this chance to poach the best talent that wouldn't have been interested to make a change in years past. In turn, people aren't waiting to make their moves. So, this holiday season is shaping up like no other for people looking to make a career change.

Why You Shouldn't Apply to Jobs through the Holidays

Everyone's job search is unique. There are reasons why the time may not be right for you to look for a job right now. Here are some of the times when you should pause your search until after the holidays.

You are Too Busy

A job search takes time. Finding a job that you actually want isn't typically easy or quick. The holiday season brings its own demands and you may not have the ability to dedicate yourself to a job search. Many people also have huge demands in their current jobs to help close out a successful year-end for 2021. In that case, it is better to spend the holiday season not looking for a job. Instead, use the time to get your message together and to build a strategy for your job search for the new year. Taking this step back will enable you to take a huge step forward in your job search in the new year.

You Can't Move Now

Employers that are hiring now want someone now. Companies that are hiring now are doing so quickly because they know that good talent will move fast. However, there are still many steps to the interviewing and hiring process. In most cases, the hiring process is at least 3 interviews (if not more). These can take time during the holiday season (even with the remote nature of many companies). So, the hiring process is still at least 6 weeks in most cases.

With that in mind, if you are someone that can't move right away in the New Year, then you should hold off on applying through the holidays. It may be that you have to wait until the end of the first quarter to get your 2021 bonus. Or, you have to complete your degree in the Spring. Whatever your reason, if you need to wait to start a new job, then you should wait to apply to jobs until after the holidays.

You aren't Ready

There are lots of reasons why you may not be ready. A job search requires a strong resume that is built for the ATS to actually get interviews. And, you will need to have a reasonably clear focus in terms of the types of jobs that you will pursue. If you aren't sure what you want to do next, then take the time to figure that out.

This could mean talking to your professional network, exploring job postings, or working with a career coach. Take the time to figure out what you want in your next career move before spending the time applying to jobs. This will save you a considerable amount of time by making your efforts more effective in the job search. This doesn't mean abandoning your job search entirely. Instead, it means taking the holiday season to get yourself ready to search for jobs in the new year.

Why You Should Apply to Jobs Now

In this unusual year, there are lots of reasons why you should proceed full speed ahead in your job search through the holiday season. No one can predict the future, but here are the times when you should apply for jobs through the holiday season.

You Need a Job

Although there are record job openings right now, companies are still continuing to eliminate jobs and restructure their operations post-COVID. The continued uncertainty of the supply chain and inflation will have long-term impacts on companies. This could mean that your job was eliminated or will be in the near future. In that case, you will need to be active in your job search. Hiring is up now and the outlook for most is far better than it has been since the COVID-19 pandemic started. But, if you need a job, then you shouldn't wait to start applying.

As noted above, the hiring process for most organizations (other than seasonal work), takes at least 6 weeks. This could be longer over the holiday season. So, if you need a job, then you should be aggressive and active in your job search now so you can land the right job in the new year.

You Want a Job

Tired of the same old nonsense and want a change? You aren't alone during the Great Resignation. This shift is expected to continue as people see new colleagues joining their organizations at higher salaries than they make. This is happening because companies are paying more for good talent in the current market. In turn, this is fueling people's interest in looking outside for new opportunities.

So, you should start looking for that next job now if you really want something else and can't stand where you are much longer. Despite the Great Resignation, people that have a job are still more attractive candidates. This means that you are in a better position to land where you want to if you have a job. So, don't wait until the current job gets so toxic that you have to quit (or get fired). Instead, use the holiday season to actively pursue your next job. This will put more options on the table and expedite the process for you to move out of your current position.

You are Ready to Explore Options

The best time to find a job is when you are ready. If you are ready to move, then there is no reason for you to wait until after the holidays to start applying. You don't have to know what that next job is or where it will be to know that you are ready to start testing the waters.

You will know that you are ready when you have a good message and a good strategy for your job search. Practically, this means a resume that is optimized for the applicant tracking systems, a polished LinkedIn profile, and a reasonable focus to your job search. Once you have that, you need to put it to work and start testing the waters with it.

You may need to adapt that approach or discover that you need to address a skills/knowledge gap. But, you won't know that until you start applying. So, if you are ready for something new then don't wait for the holidays. Instead, get out there and take advantage of the unique opportunities in the current job search market right now.

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