Reminders of the holiday season are everywhere. In addition to the Hallmark Channel kickoff of 24-hour per day of Christmas movies, images of freshly decorated trees and carefully displayed holiday lights appeared seemingly overnight in both my in-person and virtual neighborhoods this past weekend. It seems that the holiday season is officially upon us. As the mom of two young children (one of whom is still a believer in the big guy), there are many things that I do enjoy about this magical season. However, as a career advisor working with students searching for jobs and internships, there are some things I think are helpful to remember during this season that will benefit you in your search (and hopefully help reduce stress):
- It can be good time to spread a little holiday cheer. If you have not touched base recently with your summer internship manager or someone with whom you spoke for an informational interview a while back, the holidays are a good opportunity to check-in, let them know how you are doing, thank them, and simply wish them and their families well without asking for anything in return.
- Like winter weather wreaking havoc on travel, expect delays…with communication and application processes during the holidays. Let’s face it, this is the time of year when people both take extra time off and when people are just generally distracted. All of this frequently means that for searches going on, they typically take longer than usual and communication related to them can take longer too. So, pack extra doses of patience and allow more time than you normally would to follow-up on both applications and unanswered emails. And, above all, resist the temptation to read into a lack of a response as a type of response. This time of year it could mean absolutely nothing.
- There are fewer job/internship listings for students during the holiday season. The reality is that most employers have two waves of hiring for students–one in the fall for employers who know their hiring needs more than a year in advance and another for “just in time hiring” in the spring for both jobs and internships. In fact, for students graduating in May, it may even be counterproductive to apply for open positions right now as those employers are likely looking to fill those spots as soon as possible and if they know that the candidate applying is not available until months later, they will not bother interviewing you because they can’t afford to wait that long. They need someone who can start immediately. You can see this bear out in our outcomes surveys for both full-time and summer if you look at when students found their opportunities and you’ll see a significant drop-off at the end of year (right around the holidays). Given this, consider taking a break from the search to recharge your batteries and yes, enjoy the season!