UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School


Have a holly, jolly job search


Holiday wish listThe holidays can be an especially stressful time for job seekers. Most people believe that once the Thanksgiving holiday passes, nothing related to hiring will happen again until January.

But contrary to popular belief, the holiday season can be a great time to look for work, says Elizabeth Wallencheck, director of alumni career management at UNC Kenan-Flagler. She and Kris Hergert (MBA ’09), associate director of the MBA Career Management Center, explain why your career search shouldn’t break for the holidays and offer tips on making the most of the season.

Wallencheck explains why the holidays are good for your career search.

  • Business does not stop during the holidays, nor does the need to fill an open position. “They don’t care what time of year it is because there’s a need to be filled.”
  • January is the strongest hiring month. This means that job postings, networking, interviews, offers and negotiations are happening in December.
  • Most organizations operate at a slower pace. With employees taking time off, projects and initiatives are often put on hold, which can mean busy professionals have more time to meet.
  • Tis the season to be jolly. The holiday spirit tends to make people more giving of their time during the season – grinches excluded!
  • There’s less competition. Many job seekers drop out of the job search until January. “Job applications typically decrease up to 75 percent during the holiday season.”  

Hergert shares these tips for a holly, jolly job search.

  • New year, new you. Evaluate your job search – what worked and what didn’t – and adjust your strategy accordingly. Re-craft your personal brand to better align with your career objectives.
  • Spruce things up. Update your LinkedIn profile by adding a personal branding statement or highlighting new skills and expertise. Don’t forget to update your resume and cover letters, too.
  • Be thankful. The holidays are a great time to reconnect with people. Send your holiday greetings, thank them for their advice and update them on your career search.
  • Broaden your network. Use LinkedIn to connect with alums from your alma mater. Check to see if your alumni groups are hosting a social, sports viewing party or holiday event while you’re in town.
  • Practice interviewing. Home for the holidays? Your housebound relatives are a built-in audience for polishing your interview skills. Practice going over your resume and tell them the value you’ll add to a company on day 1.