If a new job tops your Christmas wish list, you can rest assured that whether you are an unhappily employed career changer or a sadly-seasoned long-term unemployed job seeker, you are not alone.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Regional and state unemployment rates were generally lower in November. Forty-three states and the District of Columbia recorded unemployment rate decreases, three states posted rate increases, and four states had no rate change, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Forty-five states registered unemployment rate decreases from a year earlier, while five states and the District of Columbia experienced increases. The national jobless rate fell by 0.4 percentage point
between October and November to 8.6 percent, down from 9.8 percent in November 2010.
There is no denying, however that being out of work during the holiday season is a bummer and eggnog and mistletoe probably won’t reduce the multiple stressors related to job loss. A proactive approach to dealing with both financial and social pressures can help to ensure a healthy and productive holiday. Now is the time to partner with friends and family members who can offer support and encouragement.
Before you trash those invitations to holiday social events, think again. The initial tendency of many who feel embarrassed by their lack of a “job” is to withdraw from social situations.
- Your Power Strategy for this season is to accept as many invitations as possible.
- Develop a casual networking agenda for each event.
- Do not approach guests with desperation, rather with a sincere desire to engage in conversation about the companies they work for and their particular roles with those employers.
- Make mental notes of those individuals with whom you sparked a great connection and follow up with them after the holidays for an informational interview.
- When people ask, “What do you do?” resist the temptation to immediately respond, “I’m Unemployed.”
- Be prepared to talk about what you contribute to the success of organizations.
- Embrace the fact that your identity is far greater than your last job title.
Temporary jobs of all sorts are available during the holidays and can put an extra jingle in your pockets. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment in professional and business services continued to trend up in November (+33,000). Modest job gains continued in temporary help services.
Taking on a temporary job, even for a short assignment can often lead to more substantial opportunities. The benefits derived from simply being connected to the workforce are easily overlooked and taken for granted. The truth is that all jobs are temporary and accepting contract work does not damage your resume.
This is also a great time to reevaluate your resume and job search strategy to assure you hit the target every time you press submits on your keypad.
Ask yourself does my resume answer the right questions for this particular employer?
Does the format of my resume allow it to be scanned and read by the various Applicant Tracking Systems that employers use to screen and file information before the identify which applicants to interview?
Many job seekers lose focus on their main priority during the holiday season. The number one job seeker goal, regardless of the season is to find a job. Enjoy the eggnog and snag a smooch under the mistletoe, but maintain a keen focus on the opportunities that are emerging. And by the way, Merry Christmas to All!
As Chief Career Strategist for B J Magnum & Associates, Betty Jackson is also a seasoned journalist who contributes regularly to the HR Florida Review, The Diversity First Newsletter, The Bar Briefs, and lodeplus.com, and is current Director of Public Relations for the HR Florida State Council which is an Affiliate of the Society for Human Resource Management, SHRM. She has also served as a judge for the National Job Interview Competition of Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) held in Florida, 2011