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101 Surprising Tips for Your Holiday Job Search

Many job seekers believe that they should give their job search a break during the holiday season, and on the surface it looks like a great idea. After all, most businesses slow down their operations during the holidays, and some people get caught up into festivities that hiring new staff might be the farthest thing from their minds. But, even if these have merits, there are many reasons why job seekers should not ease up on the job search pedal during the holidays.

To demystify this holiday myth, 25 career coaches and recruiters from career site Job-Hunt.org contributed to an e-book titled New Year, New Job! 101 Top Tips from the Job-Hunt Experts for Your Holiday Job Search. As the Canadian Job Search Expert for Job-Hunt, I was asked to be one of the contributors. This book is full of tips that will revolutionize the way one looks at holidays and job search. The book will be FREE on Amazon from Thanksgiving Day until midnight on Monday, Nov. 26. Otherwise, it will cost ninety-nine cents per copy making it an ideal stocking stuffer for the job seeker on anyone’s list. Find it at Amazon.com. Here are some tips from a few of the experts:

Ask for holiday gifts to help you job hunt 

What do you want for the holidays? Consider making this a practical (and inspirational) holiday and ask for gifts that will take you closer to your new job. Your friends and family are wondering how to help you. Help them, and yourself, by asking for what you need. Here are ideas to jumpstart your thinking:

  • Help from a career professional for some career direction, job search strategy, refreshing your resume or LinkedIn profile, or interview practice.
  • A session with a photographer for a professional headshot for your LinkedIn and other profiles.
  • To be their guest at a networking event. – Phyllis Mufson, Job-Hunt’s Boomer Job Search Expert

Use holiday vacation time to learn about job search 

Before you dive into planning and executing your job search strategy, the holidays may afford you the free time to do some research about how to job search. If it’s been more than a few years since you last looked for a job, you may not know how much things have changed. Go through the Online Job Search Tutorial on Job-Hunt.org, and Google various phrases pertaining to each aspect of job search to find information and learn the latest and best ways to land a good-fit job in today’s competitive job search landscape. – Meg Guiseppi, Job-Hunt’s Personal Branding Expert

Volunteering creates access to employers

Most job seekers tend to take the holidays off but hiring managers don’t. The hiring managers you want to meet go to holiday charity events, Chamber of Commerce meetings and other public holiday events. The best way for you to meet them without large financial investment is to volunteer. Volunteering provides access. If you believe volunteering at a holiday charity event is not worth your time, look at the list of the corporate sponsors of the previous year’s event. You may reconsider your stance. – Stephen Hinton, Job-Hunt’s Green Industry Jobs Expert

Turn up your posting frequency over the holidays

As far as I can tell, hiring volume doesn’t go down during the holiday (overall). But I know many job seekers stop trying, for whatever misinformed reason. Therefore, you can increase your exposure by amping up your social media postings. By filling the vacuum of activity on Twitter and LinkedIn, recruiters scouring those media looking for candidates will be more likely to bump into your messages. – Joshua Waldman, Job-Hunt’s Social Media & Job Search Expert

Connect with new recruiters during the holidays

If you don’t have relationships with any recruiters, you need to network to one through your contacts. This is a good time of year to ask your friends to introduce you to their favorite recruiter (who works in your industry). If they have a good relationship, they can use the same ideas above and mention they have a colleague who’d be someone good for them to know.  – Jeff Lipschultz, Job-Hunt’s Working With Recruiters Expert

Volunteer to provide holiday coverage 

Contact one of your target companies and offer to cover for staff absences during the holiday period. This must be in an area in which you have expertise, or an assignment that’s not difficult to learn. Be aware that for confidentiality reasons, you might not be allowed to work in certain departments. This would be like a temp assignment, only you are doing it on a volunteer basis. It gets your foot in the door and a couple of people to add to your network. – Daisy Wright, Job-Hunt’s Canadian Job Search Expert

After going through all the tips it will be easy to see why taking a break during the holiday season could limit one’s job search success. Make sure to grab your free copy prior to November 26, 2012 at Amazon.com. After that, it will cost a mere ninety-nine cents.

 

Napoleon Hill – The Great Résumé Writer

Famed author, Napoleon Hill is best known for his extraordinary book, Think and Grow Rich, but did you know he was also a professional résumé writer? I made the discovery recently as I was leafing through his famous book for the umpteenth time! But, instead of calling the document a résumé or CV, he termed it a “Brief”.

So confident was he about his ability and the effectiveness of his ‘brief’, that he unequivocally stated, “The information described here is the net result of many years of experience during which thousands of men and women were helped to market their services effectively. It can, therefore, be relied upon as sound and practical.” Wow! How bold, Mr. Hill!

For those who believe they can prepare their résumés in a hurry, or that it doesn’t take much effort to develop an effective résumé, or it’s just a typing job, read Mr. Hill’s thoughts on that:

“This brief should be prepared as carefully as a lawyer would prepare the brief of a case to be tried in court. Unless the applicant is experienced in the preparation of such briefs, an expert should be consulted, and his services enlisted for this purpose. Successful merchants employ men and women who understand the art and the psychology of advertising to present the merits of their merchandise. One who has personal services for sale should do the same.”

Mr. Hill implied here that if one does not have the experience in preparing their own ‘briefs’, “an expert should be consulted and his services enlisted for this purpose.”  “Hello dear reader, are you still with me?”

While career coaches and professional résumé writers prefer to use the top third of the résumé – referred to as ‘prime real estate’ – to summarize the client’s brand and personal statements which capture attention, we might cut Mr. Hill some slack for starting the ‘brief’ with Education, as in:

“State briefly, but definitely, what schooling you have had, and in what subjects you specialized in school, giving the reasons for that specialization.”

That was what was common in his day.

He then continued: “If you have had experience in connection with positions similar to the one you seek, describe it fully, [and] state names and addresses of former employers. Be sure to bring out clearly any special experience you may have had which would equip you to fill the position you seek.”

This statement is significant. He implies here that it is not necessary to include all one’s experiences, because, in fact, that would take several pages for some of us. We should dissect the job posting then select and use only the experiences that relate to the employer’s requirements.

On the subject of references, Mr. Hill said, “Practically every business firm desires to know all about the previous records, antecedents, etc., of prospective employees who seek positions of responsibility. Attach to your brief photostatic copies of letters from:

  • Former employers
  • Teachers under whom you studied
  • Prominent people whose judgement may be relied upon.
  • Photograph of self. Attach to your brief a recent, unmounted photograph of yourself.”

Well, way back in 1937 when the book was written, it was customary to provide all of the above, but these days job seekers are advised to make sure they have their reference list ready, but rather than attaching it to the résumé, they should wait until they are asked for it. Of course, attaching a photograph to one’s résumé is not normally done, but with the availability of social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google +, it’s difficult for job seekers to hide. Testimonials and LinkedIn recommendations also play a role in the modern reference process.

Mr. Hill also believed, like career service professionals do, that the résumé should be focused. Too many times I am asked by some job seekers to develop a generic one-size-fits-all résumé. Here’s what Mr. Hill said about this:

“Apply for a specific position. Avoid application for a position without describing EXACTLY what particular position you seek. Never apply for ‘just a position.’ That indicates you lack specialized qualifications. State your qualifications for the particular position for which you apply. Give full details as to the reason you believe you are qualified for the particular position you seek.” 

Mr. Hill also wrote about having a neat and professional résumé. He said, “Remember another thing; neatness in the preparation of your brief will indicate that you are a painstaking person.” One of the unwritten rules of résumé writing is that it must be free from grammar and spelling errors and it must be pleasing to the eye. No different from what Napoleon Hill stated so many years ago.

Finally, and this is where I draw my conclusion that the man was a professional résumé writer. He said, “I have helped to prepare briefs for clients which were so striking and out of the ordinary that they resulted in the employment of the applicant without a personal interview.”

The briefs that he prepared “were so striking and out of the ordinary…” They stood out; they were not created from templates and they were not generic. In other words, they were customized and reflected the job seeker’s personal brand! Résumé writers, career coaches and Napoleon Hill are on the same page when it comes to résumé creation. We painstakingly apply proven strategies that position our clients for job search success!

What are your thoughts? Was Napoleon Hill a professional résumé writer? Have your say.

 

 

Survey on Canadian Resume & Interview Trends

Whether we are career coaches, professional resume writers or job seekers, we want to know what’s current and what’s out-of-date when it comes to resumes and interviews. Here is an opportunity for recruiters and hiring managers from across Canada to have their say and let us know what they look for in resumes; whether they bother to read cover letters, and what are their pet peeves.

Please complete this short survey at Canadian Resume & Interview Trends, and pass it along to others in your network.

Thanks. I will be sharing the results in the next few weeks.