While many people see the holidays as an opportunity to spend time with family and take it easy, first-time job seekers can use the holiday season opportunistically to kick-start their job search. According to Brett Woodard, director of the Career Development Center at Saint Joseph's University, the holiday season represents the perfect time for college students to "network before they need work" as they search for their first jobs.
"Seize the opportunity to introduce yourself, and engage others by asking about their career," said Woodard. "Share a little about your own career goals, and watch your network multiply before your eyes."
Woodard also recommends those searching for a job for the first time to follow these steps to turn a happy holiday season into an even better new year.
Start conversations at holiday parties
Woodard advises potential job seekers to use holiday functions as an opportunity to let people know their career aspirations. While it is important to get your career goals out there, Woodard cautions job seekers not simply to talk about themselves. Rather, they should listen to others and conversationally ask about their careers.
Send a thank-you note
After these conversations, Woodard recommends that job seekers send a thank-you card expressing gratitude for the time that was given them. Much like people send a thank-you note on job interviews, sending a thank-you note to someone you speak with at holiday parties will ensure you stand out and are remembered by that person.
Help out others in their job search
While the job market is extremely competitive now, Woodard also believes job seekers who help others in their job search will experience worthwhile returns.
"It can be as simple as taking the lead on referring one person to another, sharing an interesting article or forwarding a job opportunity," said Woodard. "A reciprocal approach will engender generosity as you cultivate a network of professionals who understand your goals, recognize your commitment to your career search and become excited and invested in supporting you."
Although these steps may help in a person's job search, Woodard recommends that job seekers stay patient. While these steps may or may not lead to eventual job opportunities, Woodard believes that job seekers who are patient and persistent will ultimately be the most successful.