The holidays are a great time to research companies that grab both your professional and personal interest. The hiring culture at many companies, including most startups, have a lot to do with what value that prospective hire can quickly produce after onboarding, but also if they're passionate about the company's overall mission and purpose. Getting hired often has as much to do with your emotional connection with the team and culture as whether or not you’re technically qualified. “Late December - beginning of January can be a tactically good job search and recruiting period,” says Daniel Odegaard, a Senior Recruiter at Practicum.

Less competition

For many, the beginning and end of the year aren’t considered “worth it” when it comes to applying for roles. HR departments and hiring managers are probably overwhelmed with the deadlines in their festive moods anyway, so you probably wonder what’s the point of wasting your time on an application? How many times have you heard or even told yourself this, making the promise to give it a boost just after the holiday break? Well, the opposite is true – this period is actually the best time to get ahead of your competition.

You can benefit from the situation because there are many people who share the same approach and decide to postpone their job search till the next year. That means that there may be an opportunity for you to apply and interview for one of your target companies in an otherwise slow period where you may not have as much competition as you normally would.

Small companies and startups are less affected by the time of the year because they have a bigger struggle to find and recruit qualified talent which could work in your favor.

More jobs are opening

Many people choose to quit their jobs or leave for other opportunities near the end of the year. This means that companies are forced to open vacancies to fill in the position. It’s not only about the number of new jobs available on the market, but also the quality. Jobs that weren't previously open tend to during this time of year.

Companies also tend to seek the quickest replacement for the unexpectedly opened position. Jobs that open in December are created out of necessity—something is going wrong in the business or someone important resigned—and need to be filled as soon as possible.

Keep an eye out for these last-minute openings and take advantage of others who decided to do the same, but on their own career path.

An opportunity to reflect

One of the subtle, yet very powerful, things a job seeker can do is to show how much they want the job. That is demonstrated best by the research someone puts into the company, the value they can bring walking in the door, and the enthusiasm demonstrated in the interview process and not being shy (but not desperate) about how much you really do want the job. The holiday season is a great opportunity to invest in it.

“I moved into EdTech because it's a field I was passionate about with being able to see a direct impact of my work helping real people every day. Not just some fictional buyer persona or typical customer,” shares Daniel.

Getting the most out of this slow period

If you do apply and get selected for an interview, be ready to hit on these four tips from Daniel and answer these questions to maximize your opportunity:

  1. Research the company and position very well and be able to communicate it simply back to the interviewer. If you have to ask what the day-to-day work responsibilities are in the position, it's a subtle indicator you don't know what that job/profession is really about and doesn't demonstrate that you're a strong, professional candidate.
  2. How can you add value to their team/mission/upcoming goals coming in the door?
  3. Why are you passionate about the company's mission personally and how does it impact your drive for professional growth? Their growth and success becomes your growth and success.
  4. Subtly show that you really want the job and are not simply "playing the field" of job opportunities (even if that's what you're actually doing), to show that you do really care about the company's mission and goals.

The main thing is to not get discouraged during this period of time as a job seeker. Know that most companies slow their hiring during the holiday period, but look for tactical opportunities to apply to a couple of your target companies, especially startups or small companies.

The new year is also a great time to learn new things. If you want to switch to tech and “learn by doing,” we invite you to explore Practicum’s top-rated bootcamps! With us, you will lay the foundations for a new career, learn essential skills, and polish them by completing industry-level projects that you can show to potential employers.

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