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Posted: November 30, 2009

Seven tips for landing a job in 2010

Prepare in December if you want to get hired in January

John Heckers

It's holiday time again. If you're out of work things can look pretty bleak. Virtually everything shuts down to "celebrate," or endure the holidays. While December is not the best time to actually land an executive position, it can be a good time to prepare to land one in early January if you utilize the time well.

 Here are seven tips on how to do it:

1). Don't let yourself get caught up in the "holiday spirit." Celebrate whatever holiday you celebrate for a couple of days, but don't go into the catatonic state that many people do around the holidays. You have work to do if you want to be employed during the traditionally hottest hiring time - January.

2). Use all the holiday parties to network and network some more. Right now you're concentrating on "filling the pipeline." There are plenty of opportunities to meet people who might otherwise be unavailable. Accept almost every holiday party invitation. You never know who will be there. Always carry lots of business cards this holiday season.

3). Don't go into holiday debt. You don't need to be facing huge bills when you are trying to concentrate on getting a job in January. People often get into a holiday "frenzy" and run up credit cards. They are being brainwashed by the ads that spending money equals love. Going into debt won't produce the reaction of the TV actors after your family members open some trinket or gadget. No one's jaw is actually going to drop. The lukewarm reaction of their families and the realization of massive holiday debt often leaves people distracted and depressed when they need to be optimistic and concentrated. True love is making the money to take care of your family's needs, not giving them stuff. If you're going to spend money in December, make it count. Get goods and services which assist in your job search.

4). Don't make "the first of the year" an excuse. Whatever it is you're going to wait until "after the holidays" to do, do it now. "The first of the year" or "after the holidays" is a cop out. It is a dangerous cop out. Things need to be done now. Make decisions now. Get your pipeline filled now. Get your network decent now. Your competition is not waiting until "after the holidays." It is a new reality, not "business as usual" out there. Those who do not act now, (and I don't mean on the sales at the mall) are going to still be unemployed next June.

5). Start new family traditions that don't cost money, but help others and help you meet people who can assist your search in the new year. Many top executives and/or their families give time over the holidays to assist at homeless shelters, food banks, and so on. The food banks are empty and every charity is struggling. If every executive in this town just cleaned out their pantry and gave it to food banks, we could make a very large difference. Seeing others who are truly needy might also change your perception of life and your relative situation, and that of your kids.

6). Make appointments in December and for early January. Try to fill your days with networking coffees and lunches. If someone says "let's do it after the first of the year," make an appointment for the first few days of 2010. However, I've found that many people are glad to sit down for an hour and talk about reality rather than the Madison Avenue-generated greedfest.

7). Make sure to follow up -- in December and in January. If you don't follow up, you're going to lose opportunities. People just get numb from about December 20th until January 5th or so. Make sure you don't and that you wake people up long enough to assist you with filling your pipeline of networking and job leads.

Most importantly - understand that the manner of celebration of these winter holidays are manufactured by advertising agencies. You don't have to do what the advertisers tell you to do. Use your brain and your heart to make this time useful for becoming employed, and meaningful without buying the messages from the tube. You can make this, in many ways, the best holiday you've ever had.

May you and your families have a truly blessed holiday season.

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John Heckers, MA, CPC, BCPC was an Executive, Relationships, Life and Spiritual Coach in Denver with 30 years of experience  helping people with their lives, relationships and careers.

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