Is there ever a good time to be out of work and looking for a new job? I would say no but I’m sure you could find someone on LinkedIn who has an inspirational post about how there is a good time and it happens to be all the time. For simplicity, I am going to say no.
I would also argue that the holiday season is the worst time to be unemployed because of everything that comes with it. You want to provide for your family and loved ones during the season, you see family and friends at different gatherings who want to talk about your job and what you are doing which makes for an awkward situation, the stress from the job search tends to carry over into these areas, and so on and so on. There are plenty of things that make searching for a job this time of year more difficult than others.
What can you do to make the situation and season more fruitful and less stressful?
Set a specific amount of time each day or week you are going to dedicate to your search – Job searching is often a full time job in itself, and setting a time limit on your search and sticking to it will allow you to not let the highs and lows of the process to effect your personal time as much. This is important in both your personal time and the time spent with family and friends. This is also important as this time of the year is when many people are out of the office. Constant emailing, calling, and trying to get in touch with people who are away can add to the stress of the entire process. Execute the plan you have laid out and try not to look at only the result from each and everything.
Utilize your network as much as you can – Your network can be a huge help during this time of year, so have no shame in leveraging it and asking for help. This is easier for some than it is for others so keep in mind asking for help does not have to look or sound like “I am looking for a new job, do you have something I would be good for?” Ask someone to take a look at your resume and give their thoughts on what looks good about it and what could be improved. Mention the type of position or company you are interested in and ask if they may be able to point you in the right direction of someone who would be good to talk to. There are plenty of ways to ask for help, so think outside the box and find a way that is comfortable to you that will also be valuable to your search.
Take a part-time job or contract opportunity to get you through the season – Some people may have a problem with taking a retail position during the holidays, driving for Uber or Lyft, or doing something else that is not aligned with their long-term career goals. It may not be ideal, but it would only be temporary and could have multiple benefits. It would bring in money that you do not currently have coming in and help with your financial situation until you do land a position. It would also give you something else to focus your attention on and would help with sticking to the set amount of time per day or week you have allotted. I have talked to several people who have done this (not necessarily during the holiday season) who say having another commitment outside of job searching sharpened their focus and strategy for the time they did spend on it.
Each of these are general tips and can be modified to whatever your situation may be so assess your circumstances and determine what would make the most sense for you. Finding your next position is important and can require extensive planning to do, but make sure you don’t let the job search process close out the other areas of your life which are of the most importance during the holiday season: family, friends, the spirit of the season, or whatever that may be for you.