Seasonal employment aside, I've always wondered if it's a smart spending plan to keep up a long-term job hunt in December or if it's better to save money on those expenses by putting the search on hold during the holidays. According to the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics release, unemployment has finally dropped a bit to 8.6 percent after remaining largely unchanged around 9 percent since April 2011. The number of long-term unemployed (those unemployed for 27 weeks or longer) declined during October 2011. That sounds a tiny bit promising, so I called up Judi Perkins, a New York-based career coach with 22 years in the recruiting business, to ask her if the December job hunt is useless, as so many people think, or not.
"It's a complete myth that companies aren't hiring around the holidays, especially this year. Despite popular opinion, December is a fantastic month to actually beat out your competition and snag a job faster than at other times of the year," she said. Here's why:
- Some companies have unspent personnel budgets that must be used to maintain next year's budgets, so there is incentive to fill that position before year-end.
- Companies are in a state of flux and many companies have experienced budget, company restructuring or even poor performance layoffs during the year but find they have new positions to fill by year-end.
- There's a "year-end" company mentality that favors tying up loose ends and having new hires start at the beginning of the year.
- During December, the hiring pipeline from ad to job offer can shrink for the usual 9-12 weeks down to 3-6 weeks.
Perkins' best piece of advice:
The biggest reason to keep up your job search is because everybody else does not. Sometimes you may want an excuse like the holidays to remove job-hunting expenses such as wardrobe and transportation from your budget and your activities, but once you lose your momentum, it's hard to pick back up. Recruiters and human resources personnel who are working during the holidays are actually less busy than usual and more receptive to you, especially if they are still looking to fill a position by Dec. 31. Keeping up a job search during December is strategic smart spending.
Will you rethink your job hunting plans for December?