Is Applying for Jobs During the Holidays Worth It?

Dec 9, 2020 | Job Search Strategy

A title graphic featuring snowflakes, holiday decor, Let's Eat, Grandma's yellow pencil logo, and an alternate version of the article's title: "Is it Worth Applying for Jobs During the Holidays?"

You may have heard that nobody is hiring during the holidays. That’s not true! Keep your job search going over the next few weeks. Jobs are still there, some industries actually hire more, and you can always prepare yourself to get the right job when it comes along.

By: Grace Mitchell | Contributor for Let’s Eat, Grandma

It’s that time of year again: a season marked by gift giving, family bonding, and warm drinks by the fire (safely, of course).

Between all the preparations and impending time off, you may think this is a bad time to keep searching for that new job. I mean, companies don’t really hire over the holidays anyway… right?

Wrong! Seasonal hiring freezes may have been a norm in the past. However, in our current job market, companies hire as needs arise. Hiring practices are industry-specific, often coordinating with the busy seasons of the work itself. 

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As executive Dave Harshbarger explains here, “the needs that drive hiring throughout the year don’t change just because the paid holidays are bunched up on the last pages of the calendar.”

A stock photo demonstrating retail workers loading boxes onto a cart, demonstrating that the retail industry is at least one of the industries that are hiring and worth applying to during the holidays. Photo by Alex Mecl on Unsplash.

Companies hire when they have needs to fill — for many industries, such as retail, this includes the holiday season.

A Winter (Hiring) Wonderland

Still not convinced this is a good time to keep looking? Have you thought about all the industries that actually make hiring pushes during this season? The holidays are a great time to seek out temporary part-time work. Retail, packing, and delivery companies are all rushing to hire extra help for the holidays, which can mean not only extra cash flow for you but also more experience to add to your resume.

You may already have guessed that retail and delivery companies are currently hiring, but maybe you’re looking for a permanent change. Did you know that December is also a big hiring season for careers in finance, healthcare, and tax consultation? Since the fiscal year often begins on January 1st, many companies are both eager to fill gaps in their accounting sectors to simplify the complexities of taxation and have a deadline to use up their remaining hiring budget before the year ends. This situation can become a win-win for you as a job seeker!

More Reasons to Keep Looking

Another benefit of job searching in December is that fewer people apply during this time. (Because, like you were before reading this, they’re hesitant!) This means you’ll have fewer applicants to compete with for jobs that are being filled during this time.

Plus, if any companies you’re interested in are pausing hiring for the season, that may mean that they’ll be gearing up to hire in the new year. So, you could get your materials ready to submit now for when those postings do appear to ensure that you’re one of the first applicants, which can increase your chances.

Some prospective applicants may pause their job hunt for the season for fear that a new job would ruin their time-off plans. However, a study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that, though not required to by law, over 90% of private companies close their offices for both Christmas and New Year’s Day. (And speaking of Human Resources, beginning a new year with good benefits in place sounds like a great plan.)

A photo from a top down view of a person working on a laptop, demonstrating that work that can still be done in applying for a job during the holidays. Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash.

There’s still plenty of progress you can make in applying for jobs during the holidays, no matter your situation.

Also, while it might look a bit different this year, winter is still a great time for networking. 2020 may have a shortage of holiday cocktail events, but sending a note wishing your professional contacts a happy holiday or new year keeps you on their radar through the hiring process (and bonus: it’ll probably feel less uncomfortable to send than an “out of the blue” email).

Plant the Seeds

On a final note, one disadvantage of the old hiring freeze myth is that, with so many people buying into it, new job postings can in fact slow down around this time of year for some companies. If your attempts to find open jobs in your field aren’t yielding fruit, winter can still be the perfect time to plant seeds through updating your resume, developing new skills, or spending time volunteering.

We know it’s been a hard year, and we strongly encourage you to take the time you need to rest and reach out to loved ones. (And what kind of Grandma would we be if we didn’t advocate for holiday baking?) Enjoy the season, but don’t let an old hiring myth “freeze” your momentum!

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