Top Six Tips to Uncover the Hidden Job Market this Holiday Season

Tis the Season for… Networking!

!@#$%!! It’s December. “Nothing ever happens in December” you may be thinking. “It’s a business building, job-seeking, slow-moving wasteland of productivity.”

I was recently reminded of this as I have a number of clients and associates who are embroiled in the thankless task of looking for work in December.

When I first moved to Calgary 18 years ago, I showed up in November. I was able to knock on a few doors, have a few information-gathering sessions, apply for a few jobs, and then the opportunities stopped flowing.

Very few new jobs get posted in December. And for people who are out of work and looking for that next opportunity, December and early January can be very hard.

You don’t know when that next opportunity will come up.

You don’t know how long you will be out of work for.

You have to get through the holidays.

New job postings are few and far between.

Everyone else seems happy and you, well… you’re feeling pretty downtrodden as the festive season fast approaches and people seem more interested in going for cocktails than offering job interviews.

So what to do?

Here are my Top Six Tips for Using December to Uncover the Hidden Job Market:


  1. Accept party invitations like they are a potential job interview 

    Honestly. You never know who you are going to meet at that next holiday party. Your neighbour down the street could be hiring in your chosen field, or know someone who is.Resist the urge to pull those covers over your head and watch holiday movie reruns. Get out there and make yourself known.

    Looking for work? Get out there, accept holiday party invites and make yourself knownClick To Tweet
  2. Don’t be afraid to tell people you’re “Looking for that next right opportunity.” 

    I have heard this a lot recently, and people who can pull off that statement with confidence and poise are going places. They won’t be “looking” for long. They are making it known that they are in the market for something new and it’s a natural conversation opener. Imagine this:Holiday partygoer: “Hi, it’s nice to see you. What have you been up to lately? Are you still working for (insert past job here.)?”

    You: “Well, actually, I’m in between work assignments right now. I’m looking for that next right opportunity.”

    Holiday partygoer: “Really? What kind of opportunity are you looking for?”

    And bingo! You have your chance to showcase you.

    Looking for work? Don't be afraid to tell people you're looking for that next right opportunity.Click To Tweet
  3. Know what you want. 

    Not only should you make it known you are looking for work, know what you’re looking for! There’s nothing worse than someone who says: “Oh, you know, I’ll do anything….” Really? Anything?And so often, that “anything” is in a line of work, but your conversation partner doesn’t know that. Be ready with the answer of what you are looking for. The more specific you are, the more your conversation partner will be able to relate to what you are saying.

    For more tips on how to answer that question, take a read through my article on How to Create the Perfect Personal Elevator Speech.

    When job hunting, make it known you're looking for work and also know what you're looking for!Click To Tweet
  4. Remember, networking isn’t a four letter word. 

    I know, networking can be scary and hard for a lot of people. The thought of going into a room full of strangers is daunting at best. So how can you make it fun? I read once that if you approach networking as friend-building vs. selling yourself, you will present yourself in a more positive light.That same article also talked about focusing on others. The more you can find out about the person you are talking to, and the less you are talking about yourself, the better. Eventually, someone will ask you about you, and when that time comes, you can be ready to say who you are and what you love to do.

    The whole point of networking is to build relationships and to meet more people. The more people you know, the more likely you will be able to uncover opportunities that are not listed on the latest job board.

    Networking isn't a four letter wordClick To Tweet
  5. Think like a potential employer. 

    If you were on the other side and looking to hire someone, how would you go about it? So many employers, if they can help it, would prefer not to post the available position.If they can avoid sifting through endless, faceless, résumés, they will. I know I’d much rather ask around and see if anyone knows anyone they might recommend to apply for the position I might have available. And even if there is still an application process, having a recommendation goes much further than a stack of similar-looking résumés.

    You never know when you will meet someone who knows someone who is looking for someone just like you!

    Job hunting? Think like a potential employer.Click To Tweet
  6. Be positive. 

    Easier said than done, I know. But the more you can embrace this period of unknowing, and focus on the positive, the more attractive you will be to that potential employer. No one wants to hire a “Sad Sack.” The more you can be positive and present yourself with energy and conviction, the better.This period of not knowing shall pass, and something will turn up eventually. It always does. Chin up! Success is just on the other side.

    The more you focus on the positive, the more attractive you will be to a potential employerClick To Tweet

Do you have any more tips on how to use December to uncover the hidden job market? Post them in the comments below, I’d love to hear.

Or perhaps you really could use a boost and would like some help getting through this challenging (and seemingly endless) period. Drop me a line and we can set up some time to talk. This period of “inbetweenness” can be a whole lot more productive, and even enjoyable, with a coach in your corner.

Happy Holidays! And for you, that means Happy Networking. You might even have some fun in the process.

With gratitude,
Susan Elford

PR Launchpad Guidebook ABOUT SUSAN ELFORD

Susan Elford is a Leadership Coach and PR Strategist who especially loves to work with women who want it all: a fulfilling career or business while living a full and satisfying life. Susan helps her clients get real about their strengths and celebrate and promote them so they get more of what they want: success at work; success in business & success in life.

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