The holiday season for humans is like hibernation for bears. But what activity consumes bears before they hibernate? Feeding and fattening up of course. And what’s the human equivalent of fattening up before winter? Networking and hunting for a job, that’s what.
And here’s the thing, just like salmon, jobs swim upstream at roughly the same time every year (aka January and February). Unfortunately, people get layed off ahead of the holidays, usually in December, as the fiscal year and actual year come to a close. As things heat up in January and February, hiring managers re-emerge, fluffy-tailed and wide-eyed, to begin hiring again.
So why am I telling you this in November? Well, an article in the website Workopolis indicates that November is one of a few months (also including February, March, May, June, and October) where the number of job advertisements exceed the yearly average. Because before the world’s holiday hibernation, you should begin to put your name out there, network, and job hunt, thus putting your name on every recruiter and hiring manager’s lips come New Year, aka hiring time. If you’re unhappy at work, don’t wait until January to start looking; begin the search now.
There are tiers of luckiness. During the pandemic, the first tier is being safe, healthy, and having a roof over your head. The second tier is having a job, and the third, and most difficult is having a job you like.
Sometimes though, it can be tough to parse how we feel about a situation, especially right now when so much is crowding our emotional bandwidth. So how can you tell if you’re unhappy at work? This Forbes article has some insights, and I’ve highlighted a few, in my own words of course.
As an article on the Indeed.com Career Guide says, it’s important, if you currently have a job, to be discreet while looking for a new one. You don’t want your current employers to know you’re looking, because it may exacerbate issues that already exist. Other important first steps include:
Networking is all about connections, not using people. Reaching out to former employers, former coworkers, folks you met at conferences are all good strategies. But another critical tool is actually asking all those people you know to refer you to people they know. This referral process is actually the most critical part of networking, as it expands your pool of available contacts and might lead to more even more referrals down the line. Some things to remember:
Another strategy that’s related to networking involves cold calling. If you focus your search on companies you’re inspired by, whose products or services you admire and like, then instead of searching for openings there (though you can do that too), get in touch to develop those relationships.
The benefits of cold calling cannot be overstated. Yes, some people may be annoyed at you for reaching out, but the majority will respect your tenacity and appreciate that you reached out specifically to them. Again, that specificity is key, including in the pitch you make about yourself to prospective employers: why you? And why not a talking bear?
Most companies like to hear from people who like their products; they may say they have no openings, but, if they’re smart, they’ll keep your name at hand for the future. The truisms of networking (politeness, specificity, genuineness, etc.) all apply here too.
As the year rolls to a close, recruiters and hiring managers began to put off work for the New Year. But, it’s always good to put your name and email on their list of people to reach out to later on. They may have a larger budget or a better sense of openings come New Year, but it never hurts (and in fact definitely helps) to be one step ahead. Your enthusiasm will impress them and make you a more desirable candidate. Winter is coming, best to be prepared. And since you’ve already started this process, it’ll save you from making a jobs-related New Year’s resolution. That’s always good.