For some, the holidays are the most wonderful time of the year, but if you are seeking a new job or career change you may find your job search stress intensifying during the holiday season. Here are some tips to help you cope with the added stress.

Set realistic expectations

There are recruitment cycles and during the holiday season job postings slow down, hiring decisions are impacted by vacations, and companies are immersed in year-end distractions.  Don’t be discouraged if you find employers are slow to respond. While you should never stop networking it is okay to decrease your job search expectations during the last two weeks of December.  

Expand your network

Send holiday greetings to colleagues, former colleagues and professional acquaintances and employers who received your application. Networking during slower hiring periods can produce great results since people are a little more relaxed. It’s a good time to schedule informational interviews. And be sure to maximize your networking efforts at holiday parties

Reduce your time on social media

People tend to use social media to boast their accomplishments and share the best parts of their lives. It is easy to become gloomy if you are constantly comparing yourself to others who appear happily employed. Remember prospective employers will likely review your social profiles when you are a job candidate so keep your holiday postings positive. 

Learn a new skill

Learning new skills makes you smarter, energizes you and helps you grow personally and professionally. Explore blogs, videos, podcasts, and free courses in areas that interest you. It will also impress prospective employers when you’re asked how you spent your holiday “vacation”.

Prioritize taking care of yourself

Seeking employment is stressful anytime of the year, but especially during the holidays.  Engage healthy stress busters to boost your mood and minimize the blues. Exercising, preparing your favorite meal, writing in your journal, watching a movie, listening to music, and nature walks are all ways to cope with the added pressures of looking for a job. 

Lend a helping hand

The holidays are a great time of year to find ways to help others and to give yourself a meaningful rest from your job search. Not only will you benefit from the gratification of knowing you are assisting those in need, but you will also inadvertently be strengthening your network of friends and associates.  

Get a jump on the new year

The first quarter of the new year is usually a busy time for recruiting and you’ll want to be ready. Improve your resume and update your social profiles. Some employers will start posting jobs to job boards and on company websites before the holidays, even though they know hiring won’t begin January. You can get ahead of the job seekers who won’t see those postings until after the holidays to give yourself a competitive edge. 

Commit to hitting your job search full steam ahead in January but stay on track during the holidays. Losing interest in your hunt over the holidays will just make it harder to pick the thing up again come January. Following these simple tips will help you stay energized and optimistic about your job prospects in the new year.