The uncomfortable truth about why November is a good time to start looking for a job. Put yourself, and your resume, out there!
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.
Are You Ready to Start Looking?
(Jobs are also like salmon in that you have to want to go fishing in order to catch one!)
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.
- The company culture clashes with your personality and/or personal ideas. Sometimes we just don’t believe in the product anymore or how the product is sold, and that’s okay.
- Your passion has disappeared, which reflects in the work you put out. You’re just not into it anymore, and it’s making your work suffer.
- The work isn’t exciting or interesting and your boss doesn’t listen to your ideas. Sometimes our interests change or we want to scale back or scale up our workload; it’s important to have a boss that listens, not all the time, but at least sometimes.
(Like an elaborate heist, job hunting requires multiple steps!)
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:
- Update any career profiles and accounts, like LinkedIn. Don’t say you’re looking, just make sure it’s up-to-date with recent promotions, roles, skills, etc.
- Search on your own time. Work time is still work time.
- Continue to work hard. An extension of the previous tip; you don’t want to leave a bad taste in your employer’s mouth when you leave, so keep up the work.
- Stay Positive! With all things, but especially with this. Job-hunting is tough, and you’ll need to stay positive throughout the process.
It’s Network O’ Clock
(You know what time it is!)
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:
- Be polite. Remember you’re essentially asking friends or former colleagues to go out on a limb and open their own network on your behalf.
- Be specific. What are you after with this meeting, introduction, or call? If you have specific questions, specific goals, and a sense of specifically how a person can help guide or aid you then you’ll both save time and earn respect.
- Be genuine. Be yourself, but no overly so. It’s a balancing act. Be honest about your goals, but, of course, polite about what they tell you.
- Be time sensitive. Folks are busy. You’re there to make an impression, a good one, and sign off. And again, this is where specificity comes into play; the more specific you are with them, the shorter the call or meeting.
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.
Wrappin’ it Up
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.