The holidays are just around the corner and while you may be tempted to use your downtime for some well-deserved rest and relaxation, you may want to consider utilizing this time to advance your career. Whether you are actively seeking out a new position, or setting your sights on advancement within your current organization, the holidays present unique opportunities that can be beneficial for your long-term success. Consider these eight strategies to advance your career during the holiday season.
1. Update Your Resume
When is the last time you updated your resume? If you are looking for a new job, an updated resume is essential. Once you’re ready, add your newly refreshed resume to your accounts on job boards so that recruiters can see that you are open to new opportunities. If you aren’t currently seeking out a new job, revising your resume with your responsibilities and achievements can be beneficial down the road when you might be ready for a change. Reflect on the previous year and make sure to update any new skills or abilities you acquired. For in-depth resume tips from our experts, check out our article, “Anatomy of a Resume: How to Make Each Section Shine.”
2. Continue to Apply to Jobs
There is a popular misconception that companies aren’t hiring during the holiday season. In reality, hiring is a year-round process. If you are ready for a new position, take a look on job boards and company job pages to see what opportunities are available. Keep in mind that with company schedules fluctuating during this time of year, you may have to be flexible during the hiring process with phone and in-person interviews. If the opportunity is right, you could start the new year with a new job!
3. Work on Your Professional Development
The holidays are a great time to learn something new. With that extra time off, you can pick up a new skill on your own time. What programs or competencies are necessary for your role or industry? Explore the numerous courses offered on online resources such as Coursera, Udemy or Skillshare to pick up some new skills. Are there any professional books that you’ve been wanting to read but haven’t had the time? This would be an excellent season to do so. Not only will developing new skills or competencies look good to potential employers, your current manger will be impressed with your motivation to work on professional development over the holidays.
4. Request Extra Responsibility at Work
During the holiday season, projects may start winding down and workers begin using their vacation days. If that is true for your role and organization, capitalize on this opportunity and step up to help others who are busy with travel or other commitments. Furthermore, if your team is struggling to get things finished before the end of the year, offer to help in whatever way you can. Either way, this is a great time to stand out to coworkers and can set you up for future success in the new year.
5. Refresh Your Online Presence
It’s always a good idea to do a check-up on your online presence. If you have a website, LinkedIn profile or other professional account, the end of the year is an excellent time to audit the information you provide. Have you worked on any new projects, learned any new skills or updated your profile photo recently? Refreshing these items will help your online presence remain relevant and provide an accurate representation of your capabilities to potential clients or employers.
The holidays are the “Season of Giving” for a reason. There are plenty of opportunities this time of year to get involved and lend a helping hand in your local community. Consider recruiting your coworkers and professional network to volunteer with you. This presents a great opportunity to get to know each other outside of work and learn more about one another’s passions. If you are between jobs, this is an excellent way to build valuable skills and fill in the gaps on your resume. Donating your time is an enjoyable way to connect with others and do some good all year long!
7. Check in on Your Career Goals (And Make New Ones!)
When is the last time you reflected on your career goals? The approach of a new year presents a wonderful opportunity to set new career aspirations and review on old ones. If you’ve established goals previously, analyze how your progress toward them. Keeping a log of your career goals and/or having a formal career plan will keep you focused on the path you want to achieve. The end of the year is a perfect time to set the foundation for future job search or career advancement success.
8. Take Advantage of The Season!
Make the most out of the holiday season by taking advantage of unique networking and follow-up opportunities that are presented. Is there a leader at your company who will be attending the annual company party, or are you going to a holiday event where you can mention that you are looking for a new job? These are great occasions to meet important contacts. The holiday season is also a perfect time to follow up with previous leads or potential employers that didn’t work out. Sending a small note during this time of year is a kind gesture that can get your name in front of decision makers as we head into the new year.
There’s no doubt that the holiday season presents unique circumstances that can be leveraged when advancing your career. Make the most of your downtime, consider trying something new and reconsider your career goals so you will be starting the new year with your best foot forward!