It’s Christmas Time…and a ho-ho-ho hum?

Who can forget the poignant scene in the movie Kramer vs. Kramer when the character played by Dustin Hoffman schlepps his advertising portfolio from office party to office party on Christmas eve desperate for a job so he may retain custody of his young son?
As “Ted Kramer” depressingly dodges the eggnog, inebriated staff members, streamers, merriment and absent decision-makers at company after company, he finally corners a senior executive, pushing for the only vacant job available—an embarrassingly low entry-level job well below his talents and experience.
Many jobseekers see the Christmas/New Year period as depicted in the film. A waste of time where decision-makers have departed and businesses maintaining a holding pattern even for new hires until the business of doing business is again restored.
In countries such as Australia, where the summer dictates the festive season, this holding pattern extends often until February when the final staff return from annual break, ready to seize the challenges of the year ahead.

This article contributes to a topic covered by the Career Collective—a group of seasoned career professionals joining forces to provide advice to jobseekers at all levels. All Career Collective articles surrounding the Christmas job seeking theme will “go live” on December 10 and links will be posted at the conclusion of this article. Please return on December 10 for full links from all Career Collective members!

Dustin Hoffman waits at Christmas Party to get a job

Who can forget the poignant scene in the movie Kramer vs. Kramer when the character played by Dustin Hoffman schlepps his advertising portfolio from office party to office party on Christmas Eve desperate for a job so he may retain custody of his young son?

As “Ted Kramer” depressingly dodges the eggnog, inebriated staff members, streamers, merriment and absent decision-makers at company after company, he finally corners a senior executive, pushing for the only vacant job available—an embarrassingly low entry-level role well below his talents and experience.

Many jobseekers see the Christmas/New Year period as depicted in “Kramer vs. Kramer: a waste of time where decision-makers have departed and businesses maintain a holding pattern even for new hires until the “business of doing business” is again restored well into the new year.

In countries such as Australia where summer dictates the festive season from well before Christmas to almost February, this holding pattern extends agonisingly for jobseekers as they wait for vacationing stragglers to return from annual holidays and ramp up for the year ahead. In the United States the wait is fortunately not as long as it is in Australia, with new budgets forging a quick ramp up of activity for the year ahead.

So is Christmas for jobseekers just a matter of “HO HO HO Hum”?

  • Should jobseekers pack up and go camping for the holidays and put their job search on hold?
  • Should they, like Ted Kramer, show their hand and their levels of desperation by crawling around office Christmas parties begging for an opportunity?
  • Is there any hope to secure a job in the festive season and if not, what is the strategy for moving forward?

Well, yes there is, and no you really shouldn’t lose momentum. In fact, Christmas and the weeks just prior can present outstanding opportunities for networking. If you’re embarrassed that your networking attempts during the year are being seen as an obvious attempt at job seeking, Christmas is an entirely different situation. People expect others to reach out, look up old friends and colleagues and it is here, as good times and laughs are shared over a glass of wine, that you may be exposed to a business unit’s future plans on which you can form a strategy to get in the door.

No, Christmas is not the time to pull back from the networking part of the job search. In fact, it’s the time to accelerate your efforts!

Generally, a feeling of optimism pervades companies in the new year, with positive earnings reports for the last quarter driving momentum and investors looking at businesses with renewed interest.  In the US this typically leads to a tsunami of hiring activity in the week following new year where employers seek great personnel capable of immediately adding value. In Australia, it takes a little longer to get moving again, but the opportunities are there upon the return of the decision maker, and sometimes before—when and if disaster strikes.

Disasters for companies often strike in the new year.

There are some definite advantages in not “shutting up the job seeking” shop during the festive season. The key one is your immediate availability.

The new year represents a period of change for many. How many people commit to their New Year’s resolution that this year will be the year they leave their job, look for opportunities abroad, or take a chance on starting their own business? While not everyone follows through on those goals, many people do make life-altering decisions at this time of year and, with a smaller pool of candidates available, the odds of you seeing and responding to a recruiter’s call or advertisement when these people leave their positions is significantly improved. With job seeker numbers down, your chances of being a successful candidate looks considerably better and the recruiter can benefit too by placing staff at a time of year where commissions are few and far between.

Why then would you even consider not being part of that smaller group of candidates?

For many, the seasonal gift-giving season can intensify feelings of failure and disconnection for jobseekers. These feelings can erode self esteem and negatively impact the “face” you present to recruiters and employers. The best way to deal with this is to maintain momentum, create your Christmas networking strategy, have fun with friends and colleagues, and always be listening for an opportunity.

Career Collective Members respond to the Christmas Theme for Jobseekers here:

Career-Collective-original-small

Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter Navigating the Mistletoe of Job Search

Laurie Berenson @LaurieBerenson Three resolutions to take it up a notch

Martin Buckland @MartinBuckland @EliteResumes Season’s greetings and your job search

Chandlee Bryan @Chandlee Job search tips for the holidays

Megan Fitzgerald @expatcoachmegan Expat networking: Holidays are a great time to nurture and grow your network

Katharine Hansen, PhD @KatCareerGal Avoiding the holiday blues in your job search

G L Hoffman @GLHoffman Merry Christmas! Can I buy you coffee to talk about me?

Gayle Howard @GayleHoward It’s Christmas: And a ho-ho-ho-hum?

Heather Huhman @heatherhuhman 4 tips for making the most of holiday job hunting

Rosalind Joffe @WorkWithIllness Avoid this minefield: Drive your bus

Erin Kennedy @ErinKennedyCPRW How to keep up the job hunt during the holidays

Grace Kutney @sweetcareers Holiday job search tips for college students 2009

Meg Montford @KCCareerCoach The gift every laid-off job seeker needs

Hannah Morgan @careersherpa Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa Cheers

Heather Mundell @heathermundell Have a holly jolly job search

Andy Naples @andyinnaples Shift Your Focus to the Highest Impact Job Search Activities During the Holidays to Leverage Your Time

J. T. O’Donnell @careerealism Holiday tips for job seekers: 4 ways to impress others with your professionalism

Barbara Safani @BarbaraSafani Holiday networking can facillitate New Year opportunities

Miriam Salpeter @Keppie_Careers Four tips for effective networking follow-up for the holidays and the rest of the year

Rosa Vargas @resumeservice Holiday resume sparkle: Outshine the New Year job search mob

Susan Joyce @JobHuntOrg “(Holiday) Party Your Way to a New Job

Posted by Gayle Howard

Gayle Howard

I love words, respect their power and I’m passionate about using language that evokes an immediate and positive reaction from employers. Every resume I create, every coaching session I provide, every snippet of advice offered aims to help executives and leaders of tomorrow promote their authenticity in ways no smart employer could dare resist. I like to be first, just as I want my clients to be first past the finish line. I was Australia’s first Master Resume Writer, Certified G3 Coach, Certified Personal Branding Strategist and Certified Job Loss Recovery Coach—credentials still held by just a handful of professionals worldwide. An author, with additional works published in twenty-plus international career books, recipient of more than twenty-seven resume writing awards, and a specialist in creating unbeatable value propositions for senior executives for more than two decades, is your guarantee of excellence.

Comments

  1. says

    Interesting to see the perspective of holiday job search from another country. Your holiday break must feel never-ending for those needing work. Yes, networking is good to help one feel that they are still in the game.

  2. says

    Interesting to see the perspective of holiday job search from another country. Your holiday break must feel never-ending for those needing work. Yes, networking is good to help one feel that they are still in the game.

  3. says

    Gayle,
    I like the visual of Ted Kramer schlepping around with his resume looking for a job on Christmas Eve (I just fully watched that movie for the first time a couple of months ago!)

    One poignant (positive) aspect of that movie was Ted’s tenacity – his laser-focus, in the moment approach and ‘momentum’ he maintained to get the job done of landing a job!

    That said, it is a bit over the top to do what he did. Your encouraging job seekers to maintain momentum in order to maintain a confident attitude, I believe is THE key to the holiday job search. Though the holiday hiring climate IS different based on a variety of factors, the job seeker should, and can, maintain traction during this time, and even perhaps, snap up an opportunity that others, on vacation or otherwise distracted may miss!

    Great job, Gayle!

    Jacqui

  4. says

    Gayle,
    I like the visual of Ted Kramer schlepping around with his resume looking for a job on Christmas Eve (I just fully watched that movie for the first time a couple of months ago!)

    One poignant (positive) aspect of that movie was Ted’s tenacity – his laser-focus, in the moment approach and ‘momentum’ he maintained to get the job done of landing a job!

    That said, it is a bit over the top to do what he did. Your encouraging job seekers to maintain momentum in order to maintain a confident attitude, I believe is THE key to the holiday job search. Though the holiday hiring climate IS different based on a variety of factors, the job seeker should, and can, maintain traction during this time, and even perhaps, snap up an opportunity that others, on vacation or otherwise distracted may miss!

    Great job, Gayle!

    Jacqui

  5. says

    Gayle,

    So true. And your “Ted Kramer” analogy certainly hits the point home. Most folks think this is the worst time of year, when actually it can be an excellent time for networking.

    And as you said, the best way to head off feelings of “failure” is to keep on focus, straight on through the Holiday season.

  6. says

    Gayle,

    So true. And your “Ted Kramer” analogy certainly hits the point home. Most folks think this is the worst time of year, when actually it can be an excellent time for networking.

    And as you said, the best way to head off feelings of “failure” is to keep on focus, straight on through the Holiday season.

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