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The Penguin – Winter Socialite

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Nov 17, 2010 in Job Search

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For professionals seeking employment at any level, the holidays shouldn’t be the time when you put your job search on hold until next year. Waddle down to the local ice flow, put on your winter tux and socialize! Many people have the attitude “I’ll get started after the first of the year” with a resolution to work harder, but the holiday season is a great chance for you to slide in to job openings as those hibernating species create less competition.

Statistics provided by CareerBuilder.com show that job seekers slow down their search in December, but get back into gear in January creating almost 20% more unique searches with only a 5% increase in job posts than in December. Hiring authorities are scheduling interviews and making hiring plans for the New Year right now!

All dressed up and nowhere to go? How about a holiday party?

For those of you out of work, this should be an opportunity to expand your network. People who are currently working are there to blow off steam, relax, and socialize, so you don’t want to be too aggressive, but take advantage of this time to meet new people to tap into for referrals.

Before you go:

When you RSVP, call the host/hostess instead of emailing and ask who else might be attending and if he/she knows where they work. Remember: knowledge is power- look up the other guests on LinkedIn and connect prior to the party. You can say in your LinkedIn invite, “looking forward to seeing you at so-and-so’s party next week. I’d like to add you to my LinkedIn network.”

In social situations reaching out to attendees in advance may open a door for a conversation you wouldn’t have otherwise had by gaining familiarity prior to meeting them in person. Being able to strike up a conversation quickly will set you apart from the other guests.

As with any networking, knowing your unique value proposition before you leave the house in your finest business-casual duds is important. Practice in the mirror before you go. Smile and take mints and business contact cards with you as well as pen and paper to write contact info and names.

While you’re there:

Most professionals don’t carry business cards with them in social settings so be prepared to offer yours and make sure you take notes of who to follow up with after the party.

Have fun and fit in. Having a glass of water between wines will keep you hydrated and ensure you’re not consuming too much alcohol to make a good first impression. Remember- the first impression is a lasting one so make sure you appear professional even in a casual, relaxed holiday setting. Eat prior to the party so you aren’t sidling up to a potential employer with a full mouth.

People like to talk about themselves so be prepared with a list of questions you can ask that could lead into work related conversation.

“So, how do you know the so and so’s?” or “How did you meet the so and so’s?”

Many times people are at parties and don’t know the hosts. You can move into
“Oh, well, I know them from XYZ. So, what kind of work do you do?”

Follow up:

People are often more inclined to help during the holiday giving season so there is no reason to wait until after the holidays to reach out and follow up with someone. Remember, if you link with them on LinkedIn, you can see their email addresses so you don’t have to ask for it. Sending your resume with a thoughtful cover letter about why you are interested in their company and asking for referrals is appropriate. If you don’t have the email address, send them a hard copy of your resume and cover letter via USPS Priority Mail.

Also, make sure you send your host/hostess a thank you note by mail or email, whatever you prefer. You can mention your job search after thanking them for hosting such a great event and that you’d appreciate them forwarding your resume onto people as they see fit or to specific individuals you haven’t been able to reach personally.

Other places you can meet professionals during the holidays:

• Soup kitchen/homeless shelter Thanksgiving dinner service
• Canned food drives
• Coat drives
• Church events
Toys for tots

Party hearty this holiday season and learn from the penguins, the coolest socialites around!

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The Seasons – Winter Holiday Jobs

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Nov 9, 2010 in Career Path

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The seasons bring a lot of change to the jungle. The heat of summer gives way to the crisp coolness of fall and then to the whirlwind holidays of winter. Holiday hiring is starting in high gear this year so whether you’re looking for some extra cash to put in the bank or to fund your seasonal shopping, here’s some job search tips on who’s hiring. According to a new projection from Challenger, Gray & Christmas, retailers will hire between 500,000 and 600,000 workers for the holidays, compared to 2009, when only 501,400 were hired.

Finding a job is all about timing and where you look. For part time holiday jobs, there are thousands of seasonal openings at a wide variety of businesses:

Retail Outlets – Whether you love Target, Lowe’s, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Toys-r-Us, or Yankee Candle, lots of department stores and retail outlets look for seasonal help. In 2009 Indeed.com boasted a list of more than 23,000 holiday job openings. Refine your search to listings in your area and you’ll be able to locate lots of great seasonal positions close to your home. They are looking for extra cashiers, stock clerks, customer service and other related seasonal helpers to assist with higher than normal sales and shipping volume. Some of these companies also offer an employee discount making the commitment to the work even more financially rewarding if you shop there.

UPS and FedEx – Delivery companies are looking for seasonal help because the work load increases significantly between Thanksgiving and Christmas. UPS adds additional package handlers at their drop off locations as well as Seasonal Driver Helpers. These people work variable hours between Thanksgiving and Christmas Monday to Friday since UPS doesn’t deliver on Saturday or Sunday. You don’t need a driver’s license because the driver will pick you up near your home. There are often a variety of shifts available including daytime, twilight, night and sunrise work hours. FedEx also has similar seasonal jobs available. Do your research online or call their toll free numbers for more information.

Caterers/Party Venues – As the holiday party season kicks off many of these companies are looking for extra chefs, cooks, wait staff and bar help.

Landscapers – If you like working outside, you can assist customers at a local nursery or holiday decorating company. Check your local listings for companies seeking assistant decorators for commercial or residential installations. Snow removal was a great source of income last winter in the Mid Atlantic and Northeast corridor. Many private neighborhoods contract with local landscaping companies who are looking to offset winter slowdowns by adding other services to their menus. Offering to shovel for a set of neighbors is a great way to ensure you’ll be busy and have income if you can’t make it into work and earn your regular paycheck.

Seasonal Attractions – Just like theme parks need extra help over the summer, places like ski resorts, skating rinks and other seasonal attractions need extra help right now. Think about the places people flock to in your area during the winter months and find out if they’re looking for seasonal workers.

Personal Assistance- If you’re a little more entrepreneurial, you can offer your assistance for an hourly rate to busy executives to run errands, wrap gifts, address and mail holiday cards, even dog walkers see a surge and need extra help with vacation coverage this time of year.

Share your holiday job success in the comments!

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