Regardless of the time of year, job hunting is a marathon, not a sprint. It involves diligent mental discipline and maintaining a healthy stress level in the face of ups, downs and changes that are beyond your control.
Add to this the myriad demands and expectations of the holiday season – and you could have a perfect stress storm on your hands. But not if you go into this time with your eyes wide open. Accept that stress is normal and you’re not alone. Enjoying the holidays during your job search requires a determined focus and the ability to live in the present while at the same time actively planning for the future.
What to Do
Know your stressors and what causes them. Then, develop a plan to tackle them. It’s like shoveling the driveway: Watch the weather forecast, have the snow blower tuned up and ready to go, and take it on one step at a time. Don’t wait for it to reach blizzard levels. Here are some tips for managing your job search stress:
- Enjoy social interactions. The holiday season tends to find you out meeting new people or reconnecting with old friends and acquaintances. Rather than dreading these get-togethers, look at them as potential networking opportunities. You never know when a job lead may surface.
- Give yourself wins. If you don’t already have a job search plan, make one. Start this New Year’s resolution early. Planning in and of itself reduces stress and gives direction to your efforts. During December, try and accomplish at least one job-search-related task, no matter how small, every day. Make a phone call. Post a resume on a job board. By getting this single thing done, you ensure yourself a positive win. It works wonders for your overall outlook.
- Stay busy. The holidays are not an optimal time to be alone. Avoid anxiety or depression by staying busy. Consider accepting a temporary position, which can be a plus in terms of holiday income, networking opportunities and avoidance of seasonal blues.
- Stay healthy. It may be tempting to slack off on health and fitness during the holidays – eating wrong, skipping the gym or skimping on sleep. Stay the course! Don’t be too hard on yourself and if you do slip up, put it behind you and get right back on track the next day.
What NOT to Do
Don’t let the holiday season derail you – not from your job search and not from your preferred personal routine. Well, maybe a little bit of diversion is understandable, but do not:
- Stop your search: It’s a myth that nobody hires during the holidays. If anything, you may be at a competitive advantage as other job seekers take December off. And many companies actually step up their hiring efforts at year end for budgetary and other reasons.
- Stretch yourself too thin financially: Plan a budget and stick to it to prevent unnecessary expenses. Loved ones should understand. Be open about your situation. It could lead to more traditional and meaningful gift ideas versus the lure of mass merchandising.
Check out our Candidate Resource Center or contact a recruiter at Contemporary Personnel Staffing and Professionals Incorporated for more information about temporary and direct hire opportunities – during the holiday season and year round.