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Posted: November 30, 2011

Top 10 ways to get ready for January hiring

Make sure you've got a chair when the music stops

John Heckers

We are coming up on the January hiring bubble. It is likely to be very short and highly competitive this year. Here are some things you can and should do now to assure that you're not left standing without a chair when the music stops in February or March.

1). Don't "wait ‘till after the holidays." This time of year, I hear person after person say that absolutely stupid phrase, "Well, I'll wait ‘till after the holidays." NOT BRIGHT! Now is a good time to network. Now is a good time to get any professional help you might need. Now is a good time to do everything you need to do to get employed in January - unless you want several more months of unemployment.

2). Network extensively. Now is the time to contact your network. Get together for coffee or lunch. Many companies (except in retail) slow down a bit over the holidays. People are in a more receptive mood. Take advantage of this to meet with people you know.

3). Reinstitute old contacts. What better time than the holidays to mend bridges and re-contact those you've lost contact with? That whole "peace on Earth, goodwill towards people" thing can work for you now. Make it.

4). Build a network. Holiday parties are truly obnoxious. But I go to them because there are people there, albeit often drunk people. Go to all of the holiday parties and networking events you can stand. Drink wisely, if at all. Meet people and have nice conversations. Then follow up with coffee or lunch. Read my article on what to do at coffee meetings before you go.

5). Get the legwork done now. The holidays are a very good time to prepare for interviews, network extensively, and do your research. If you are working with a coach, make lots of appointments to get prepped. If you are working on your own, get friends to mock-interview you and hone your skills. Now is the time so you can walk into an interview in January and ace it.

6). Don't get complacent. Even if you have five interviews going on, you still need to keep looking. The top job-killing phrase that the unemployed utter is "I've got irons in the fire." No. You don't. Until you're working at a company for two solid months, you only have fantasies in your head. Even after you've been working at a company for a while, keep networking. Companies go belly-up and lay people off, you know!

7). Don't "take a break." The best thing you can do for your family is to get employed and get a paycheck coming in. Make your employment search your top priority, not time with the kiddies. This is a precious and irreplaceable month. Don't miss a major networking event to see a pageant or whatever. Your first and foremost responsibility to your family is to have them fed and clothed.

8). Make your spouse happy! While that is good advice at any time, what I mean here is "go to your spouse's holiday party with him or her." This will expose you to people you might otherwise not have met. Years ago (long before I was married) I met one of my largest clients at a girlfriend's holiday party. You might meet your next boss.

9). There are still jobs. Several of our clients landed last year at an unusual time - the week between Christmas and New Year's Day. Not every company bars the doors because of Santa. Some need to have the team in place by January 1. Don't stop interviewing and looking.

10). Stay focused. The short-game is Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza, Festivus or whatever. The long-game is getting gainfully employed. Keep your focus and don't get bedazzled by silver bells or twinkling lights. You have a job to do, and that job is getting a job to do.

Many people take the holidays off (foolishly). If you don't, you'll stand out as someone who takes work seriously and wants to get employed. You have a golden opportunity to distinguish yourself from the crowd now. Don't listen to Madison Avenue. If you really love your spouse, you won't get them a $10,000.00 bracelet or a Lexus or whatever. If you really love your spouse and kids, you'll do whatever it takes to get working again. The holidays come every year (unfortunately). This opportunity may knock only once.

Please join us for our management and executive holiday structured networking event on Monday, Dec.12. Use discount code cobizmag. More information and registration here.
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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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