Beating the Holiday Job Search Blues

The holiday season can be rough on a job search.   First, there often aren’t as many postings to go through.  Thinking back to my first post, David from JobLIST commented that, at least historically, listings drop off in November before picking up again as winter goes on.  We could speculate endlessly about why, but there are a few obvious reasons.  Lots of people take vacation time during November and December, so it’s harder to find time to convene a search committee meeting.  With semesters ending, academic, school, and even public librarians are dealing with an influx of patrons (often with increasingly panicked requests as students scramble to meet deadlines), leaving less time to focus on administrative tasks like hiring.   On my campus, at least, the end of the semester means an increased number of concerts and social events, which also fill up the schedule.  And for places where the fiscal year coincides with the calendar year, it’s often simply easier and more budget-friendly to wait until the New Year starts.

However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t continue to work on your job search.  In fact, December can be a great time to refocus and retool if you’ve been on the market a while.   It’s also a great time to get started if you’re going to be graduating in May.  If you’ve been looking since last May (or longer) perhaps this is the time to pull back a bit and overhaul your resume – if it hasn’t made the cut so far, it’s probably time to try something different.  If you’re still in school and haven’t started pulling your resume together, do it over break.  Once the spring semester starts, you’re going to be busy with coursework again, and you’ll need to start applying for jobs.  Preparing a master resume that you can tweak as job ads come out and jotting down some potential cover letter ideas will save you a lot of time and angst in the future.  I’ve said that before.  It’s true.

Other things you can do to beat the holiday job search blues:

  • Set up a profile on LinkedIn.
  • See if a local library needs volunteers.  It’s a busy time of year, with semesters ending and lots of holiday-themed community events, and many places would probably love an extra set of hands.
  • Start a blog or Twitter account and participate in discussions with librarians and library students.  Demonstrate that you’re interested in the major questions and issues facing our profession.
  • Network, network, network.  Do your family members know you’re looking for a job?  You might be surprised to find that they know somebody or something about a lead.  Same goes for friends and colleagues at other parties you attend.  You can use a social gathering as a networking opportunity without being overbearing.

Don’t ignore the opportunities that are out there, particularly if you spot a dream job.  According to this handy article (thanks to JobLIST for tweeting it this morning), many job seekers take the holiday season off, so it can be fortuitous for those who hang in there simply because there’s likely to be less competition.

If you’ve got other great holiday tips, or questions, add them to the comments!

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