Searching for a job is not easy, and it is especially difficult this time of year when you have the added pressures of worrying about paying for holiday gifts in addition to your usual expenses. While there is no surefire way to have a successful holiday job search on your first go, there absolutely are some mistakes to avoid. We list some of the most overlooked mistakes here, to make your holiday job search a little easier.
Suspending Your Search for Long Periods of Time
The worst mistake people make in their holiday job search is taking extended time off or being lackadaisical in the hunt. As Arnie Fertig, founder and CEO of Jobhuntercoach, explains in his U.S. News & World Report article, “There are other costs associated with your hiatus. You’ll lose networking opportunities. Companies continue hiring throughout the year, and when you don’t show up, you forfeit the opportunity to be considered.”
It’s clearly a mistake to take a break from your job search during the holiday season. Companies prefer to be fully staffed going into the new year, and that means that they try to complete all of their hiring during the holiday season. And, if you were tempted to back off on your holiday job search, just imagine how many others feel the same way; their suspended searches mean a smaller applicant pool and a better chance that you will be the one to get the job.
Including Too Much Information On Your Resume
Writing a resume is often one of the most difficult tasks of a job search, but it also presents you with a great opportunity to shine a light on your big accomplishments. But be sure not to overdo it. One way to avoid having too much info is to include a career summary or branded statement that quickly lets hiring managers know exactly why you’re right for the job. This will be especially helpful during the holidays when decision makers are even more pressed for time than usual.
Applicants also often make mistakes when formatting and drafting their resumes. A few rules to remember are to avoid long paragraphs without bullets, phrases with “I,” irrelevant and distant experiences, flowery language, spelling and grammatical errors, personal information, hobbies and interests, and photographs of yourself. Stick to the facts, stress your most relevant skills and experience, and save your references for a separate page.
Making Errors in Cover Letters
Most people spend more time on their resumes than their cover letters. That is another mistake to avoid in your holiday job search – or any period for that matter. Your cover letter serves as your introduction to a prospective employer. Always assume a cover letter is required, and make sure you follow the instructions in the job description. The last thing you want to do is make a costly error simply because you saved time either by not including a cover letter or ignoring simple instructions. Neither one of these actions makes a very good first impression in your holiday job search. That’s why it’s important to have a colleague or trusted friend proofread your cover letter for you.
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Limiting Yourself to One Industry or Traditional Jobs
The holidays are all about connecting and networking, and if you are limiting yourself to one industry in your search, you are doing yourself a great disservice. Your skills and experience more than likely make you a viable candidate in a few fields and industries, so don’t focus solely on jobs related to your degree. Match your qualifications to open positions, and you’ll soon find a whole new world of possibilities in your holiday job search.
Another mistake is that people fear working from home full-time, even for some freelancers. Don’t limit yourself to searching for jobs that are traditional 9-5 roles. In fact, a recent paper by professors Tammy D. Allen, Timothy D. Golden, and Kristen M. Shockley shows that about 25 million people worked from home in 2014 at least one day per month.
People make several costly errors in their holiday job search. By being aware of some of the most overlooked mistakes, you’ll increase your odds of being the one to land the job.
Erica Francis works with ReadyJob.org to teach young people how to get started in the job market. In her spare time, she enjoys horseback riding, crocheting, and acting at her town’s community theater.