Got Laid Off? Don't Wait Until After the Holidays to Start Looking

Getting laid off during the holiday season can put a major damper on what's usually a magical time of the year. It's a tough blow made more difficult by the fact that most companies don't do a lot of permanent hiring during the holiday season.

That means you may not see a lot of job ads, and it may feel like there's not much you can do to find a new job. But there's still a lot you can do to put yourself in the best possible position once the pace of hiring picks back up.

Consider seasonal work

A lot of companies are hiring seasonally. These jobs are concentrated in retail and shipping but extend to any areas that experience increased business during the holiday season.

Taking a seasonal job might provide you an in with a company you actually want to work for. Even if you normally do something that's not subject to seasonal hiring, getting to know a potential employer from a different area and taking the opportunity to show you're a hard worker is never a bad idea.

If you don't want to turn a seasonal job into a full-time one, a short-term job can still earn you some money and allow you to put off filing for unemployment. That can bring added peace of mind if you think finding a new job might take a while.

Do your prep work

While there may not be a lot of jobs advertised during the holiday season, there's a lot of prep work you can do for when the market improves early in the new year. This list includes:

  • Get your resume updated and copyedited
  • Let your network know you are looking
  • Prepare draft cover letters (be prepared to customize them for each job you apply for)
  • Tell your references to expect calls
  • Make a list of websites and job boards to check daily
  • Se tup job alerts for various titles
  • Make sure you have proper interview clothes
  • Practice interviewing, ideally with a friend who has done some hiring

Basically, you should be looking just in case something pops up. Until that happens, use your time to prepare so that when ads do start getting posted, you can apply immediately.

Don't let it get you down

It's never fun to lose your job, and it might be more even depressing during the holiday season. But take heart from the fact that the job market is really strong right now. Historically, if you're going to be out of work, this is a good time to be in that situation.

Ideally, while you check off the list above, you will also use the unexpected time off to recharge. Take a break. Enjoy your family and friends.

When the calendar turns to 2019, be ready to hit your job search hard. There will be pent-up demand, and sometimes getting an application in early is the difference between getting an interview and ending up on the "maybe" pile. Use your time well and you'll be back to work quickly, refreshed and ready to take on new challenges.

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