If this time of year gets your career a little side tracked on a day-to-day basis, you’re not alone. Between online holiday shopping temptations and secret Santas at the office, productivity may slide. The good news? If you’re job hunting, there’s no better time than the present! Grind. It. Out. As intensity eases up at the office, you can pour your attention and energy into landing your new job.
Here’s why: Similar to dieters who chalk off the entire month by saying they’ll pursue their goals after January first, countless job seekers convince themselves they won’t make any progress in December and excuse their search, giving themselves a pass until the new year.
That’s all the more reason to work it! Your competition is less fierce for several weeks – they’re lax, less ambitious and key words here — non-existent. If you normally would have interviewed among several other candidates, that number can drop significantly and simultaneously increase your shot at a new job.
Secondly, companies with a fiscal year-end of December 31st face excruciating pressure from leadership to fill jobs as soon as possible. The ramifications if they don’t fill a requisition mean a job opening may not be approved again internally. Regardless of how long it’s been open, the higher ups may think, ‘The department has been surviving without the additional headcount; they’ll continue to survive without it in 2014.’
Thus, the job opening would get slashed. Help that hiring manager make a quick and wise decision to hire you! You simply have to stay focused in the game to be considered in the first place.
As you commit to the process, you can actually stay focus amidst oh-so-many distractions. Block out the noise — this includes creating an action plan on a weekly basis, monitoring your daily progress and giving yourself a reward as you stick the course.
Start by creating clear, actionable and achievable goals. Let’s say it’s making two new contacts at three networking events and following up with phone calls – ‘tis the season! Attend industry holiday parties by searching local chapters of professional organization sites and scoring a plus one invite to your friends’ company parties. No matter what, the spirit is light and festive.
Whether you lean on an Excel spreadsheet or create notes in your iPhone, it’s all good: Document your goals at the beginning of each week. This will keep you on track and it’s technically no different than when you were in college with countless holiday distractions but had to hit the books for final exams. You’ve done it before and you can do it again – tell yourself you’ll work hard now and then take a few days off in the new year.
Lastly, keep the end goal in mind with rewards and visual reminders. If you promise yourself when you land your new job you’ll get a much-needed massage, put a business card of the spa where you can see it. Create visual reminders to remain committed toward your goal.
— Vicki Salemi is a career and human resources expert and consultant with 16-plus years of hands-on management experience. She’s a public speaker, coach, the author of “Big Career in the Big City” and on-air host of “Score That Job.”