The Top 5 Ways To Use Your Holiday Downtime To Find A Job

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Whether you’re a student who doesn’t have a job lined up for the spring or an unemployed recent grad, the holidays can be a nightmare.

Besides wondering how you will pay for gifts, you’re probably also stressing about how to handle those “So, what have you been up to?” and “Where are you working after graduation?” questions, which are sure to come your way from all those well-meaning relatives you only see a few times a year.

When questions about your career come up, focus on what you’ve done in the past and what you’re hoping to do in the future. You’re not unemployed, just between opportunities.

Don’t be tempted use the holidays as an excuse to drown your career sorrows in chocolate liquor cordials and eggnog.

Take advantage of this downtime to get a leg up on the job hunt, and come out on top in the new year by following these five steps:

1. Network like crazy

The holidays are a great excuse to contact old employers, acquaintances and friends to let them know you’re looking for your next opportunity. Call them to meet up for coffee, attend lots of parties, and send greeting cards to put yourself back on their radar.

Many major cities also have holiday parties and fundraisers organized through Twitter, such as HoHoTO in Toronto, which are perfect opportunities to meet young professionals who are a few years ahead of you in their careers (particularly in technology, marketing and public relations).

When questions about your career come up, focus on what you’ve done in the past and what you’re hoping to do in the future. You’re not unemployed, just between opportunities.

2. Update your resumé, blog and social networks

While you’re relaxing by the fire and sipping on some cocoa, it’s the perfect time to finally update your resumé, write for that blog you forgot about, and start connecting with people online. Don’t use the excuse that no one in your industry uses social media because it just isn’t true!

Update your LinkedIn profile, find some new Twitter followers, and write some thoughtful blog posts to show off the new, employable you by January 1.

3. Research new opportunities

If  Santa doesn’t drop that full-time dream job into your lap, use December to research new possibilities for next year. Find an organization in your field searching for volunteers, look into further education options, or find a professional association where you can make some industry connections. With new activities and courses lined up you won’t have any time to blame your unemployed status on your New Year’s Day hangover.

4. Make a realistic calendar

Take all of that new year resolution energy, and all of your research from Step 3, and create a realistic calendar filled with goals and other things you hope to accomplish next year.

Mark down recruiting or hiring dates, industry events, course start dates, and any other job related deadlines that may help you turn your visions of sugar-plums into reality.

5. Relax

Use the holidays to recharge your batteries and enjoy some love and support from family and friends. With a renewed sense of confidence, you’ll be in much better spirits to continue your job search in 2011.

Asking loved ones for some awesome interview clothes as presents can’t hurt either.

What TalentEgg’s Twitter followers have to say

We asked TalentEgg’s Twitter followers for their suggestions about what students and recent grads can do over the holidays to “hatch” their careers, and this is what they had to say:

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/DanielEllul/status/10726215707009024″]

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/CGA_Ontario/status/10727237678538752″]

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/charmyip/status/10729661763952640″]

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/valerieaguiar/status/10761466839834624″]

 

Great advice! Now, if only we could figure out how to get your uncle to stop asking you why you’re still single…

Happy Holidays!

Photo credit: Tangled illumination by Cameron Russell on Flickr
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