How to Stay Career Productive during the Christmas Holidays
How to stay productive during holidays for Jobseekers
Whether you’re looking for a job while in a job, or job-seeking full-time, the Christmas holidays offer lots of scope for sharpening your game for the New Year. Resist the temptation to allow your brain to turn to Quality-Street-and-Christmas-special induced mush. Instead, take these steps to make sure you hit that critical month for recruitment, January, with all systems go.
Have you lost focus and have found yourself applying for jobs you have little chance of getting, just for the sake of it? On the other hand, are you not applying for jobs you should be, because you lack the confidence? When you are rushing to make deadlines it is easy to forget what you really want. Also, think about what the biggest obstacles have been – are you missing deadlines because you are not satisfied with your CV? Do you find you are missing an essential qualification? Make a plan to address what’s stopping you getting the job you want.
2. Review your job alerts
If you feel you’re getting alerts for the wrong type of job, check the categories or search words you’ve used. On some sites you can follow a company you’d like to work for so that any time it advertises a job, you’ll be alerted.
3. Give your CV the red pen treatment
You shouldn’t really have just the one standard CV as you should be adapting it for each role you apply for. However, have a look at your template and see if you can improve it. Ask yourself the following questions:
Is it too long? In most cases, you can definitely shorten it. Be brave and strike through all the repetition and unnecessary words. Think of shorter, snappier ways of saying the same thing.
Does it make you sound dynamic? Use a variety of verbs and use the active tense (say you oversaw all the scheduling (active) rather than all the scheduling was done by your department (passive), for example. The active tense is much more dynamic.
Is the language monotonous? If you find the same adjective cropping up all over the CV and cover letter, use a thesaurus to come up with variations. Don’t be afraid to show off your vocabulary.
Are there mistakes? Double and triple check the spelling and grammar. Get someone you know who is really fussy to have a look over it. They say you shouldn’t proofread your own work – this is because you read what you meant to write, not what you actually wrote, so your eyes just gloss over typos.
Are you consistent with your formatting? Are all your headings bolded and the same font size? Have you italicised all the names of your educational establishments? Formatting is very much a personal choice; there is no right or wrong but the golden rule is to apply consistently whatever style you have chosen. Keep it simple; don’t go for lots of font types, sizes and formatting for the sake of it. Use these things to aid clarity only. Read our CV Writing Tips here.
4. Say “I’m still here”
Now is a good time to remind any recruitment agencies you’re registered with that you’re still available. Send them in your revamped CV, or if it’s been a while since you met, make an appointment to see them. Are there other agencies, perhaps in a slightly different geographical area, you could approach?
5. Make use of your network
Sit down and think about all the people you know. Each one of them knows dozens of people and one of those people could be looking to fill your dream vacancy! Write down the names of some key people you know who are well connected or think highly of you and group them into weekly lists of one or two people to touch base with. When you meet, fill them in on your career, your skills and knowledge and tell them the kind of work you are looking for. You’re not asking them for a job, but you’re asking them to keep their ears open for something that might come up in their networks.
6. Read up
The Christmas holidays offer a great opportunity to read up on your specialist area, be it an actual book or magazine or an online course or series of articles. A subscription to a trade journal could make a great Christmas present so start dropping hints right now! Ted talks are an entertaining way of increasing your professional knowledge – great for listening to as you walk or run off the Christmas dinner!
7. Research companies
The Christmas holidays are the ideal time to carry out some in-depth research on companies you’re interested in, especially if you’re working full-time. Even better if you know you have an interview coming up.
8. Beat your weakness
You might feel like you’ve read every job-seekers tip there is, but if there’s a part of the process that you find particularly challenging, tackle it head on. If the thought of doing a presentation, for example, keeps you awake at night, get some practical help from an expert or overcome your fear by practicing in front of friends or family.
By not switching off this Christmas and instead using your time productively, you’ll be fully match ready this January. Let us know how you get on. What worked for you? Do you have any other advice for using the holidays productively?
Need more tips on how to be productive during the Christmas season? Check out these links.