Dear DFS: How Do I Look for Work During the Holidays?

Dear DFS, 

I was laid off last month and have been tirelessly searching for a new position in my field, but unfortunately, no luck yet. I am starting to get concerned that I will not have a job before the New Year and I know companies aren’t focused on hiring during the holidays. How can I continue to be productive in my job search over the next couple months?  

Thank you for your help, 

Alexis

Nashville, TN

Dear Alexis,

We wish you much SUCCESS on your job search and know how difficult this transition can be.  It sounds like you have a goal to find a job by December 31st!  You are already motivating yourself to stay focused and move forward!  It’s easy to say you are searching for a new job, but by giving yourself a deadline – it will keep you motivated in trying to find a new career.

Here are just a few tips to stay focused and motivated to move yourself forward:

Make a plan.

Have you researched area companies you are interested in working with?   Are there any job fairs coming up in your area?  Are there any corporations expanding or looking for new employees?  Retailers, restaurants and hotels are currently hiring for temporary holiday employees. It may open a door to something new, keep you busy during this time of year and/or lead you to new connections in your community or industry. Here is a recent article regarding the upcoming 2014 4th Quarter: http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2014/10/02/seasonal-hiring-full-time-jobs-boost/

Do your research.

Companies may look great on paper or sound great to talk about – but have you actually talked to employees that work there?  Find out what the culture is like within the organization.  Are you focused on staying in Nashville or are you open to moving to a new community in Tennessee or outside of Tennessee?

Sometimes a foot in the door is well… a foot in the door. One of my first jobs out of college was working as a receptionist at a financial institution.  I then found other opportunities available within the company.  By year two, I had moved up to the cashier position: balancing and depositing incoming checks and stock certificates for client accounts. By year three, I had been offered a position as a sales associate: working with the brokers and clients and preparing portfolios for account reviews. Year four, I studied for and passed my Series 7 test and became a registered sales associate. Year five, I moved over to a new company and found a job I absolutely loved and looked forward to everyday. I loved working with the broker and the clients.

I eventually “retired” from the corporate world and became a stay-at-home mom.  While looking for a place to donate my suits, I found Dress for Success and Des Moines was a targeted area to launch an affiliate. Four years later, I am glad I had the opportunity to find a new passion and be surrounded by so many dedicated people in the community.  When one door closes another one is opening.

Stay connected and have your elevator speech ready.

Are you using LinkedIn?  Have you attended any networking groups in your area (Chamber meetings, Business Networking and Referrals, Referral Leaders International groups)?  Have you been invited to any parties, fundraisers or other events?  When you were employed at your last position, did you have contacts with other companies?  Do you have friends or family at companies you are interested in applying for positions?  Do you volunteer with any local organizations?  It looks like a local Dress for Success in Nashville is in the start-up phase.  Feel free to reach out to them to see how you can help get the doors open. It will show your next employer you are helping in your community during this transition period and staying engaged. Or find another organization to help volunteer with. Many organizations love a commitment of just a few hours a week; it will keep you motivated and give you something to look forward to while you are searching for your new job.

Any time you are networking or at an event and people ask what you do, be ready to respond with a 30-second pitch!  Sell yourself!  And be specific!  Connections may open the door for you, but they need to know what you are looking for. They may know of a position opening at their company and/or have some good contacts for you.  Make sure to thank them for taking the time to listen and remind them to keep you posted on any new opportunities (by email is great and keep it brief!).

Social media.

If you are using LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to make connections – remember – your future employer may also use these tools as well.  Do not post things on social media you would not want your future boss to know about you.

Being laid-off from a position is a difficult transition, but stay positive!  This could be just the break you need to find a new passion, to meet new people and to open a new door.

To your SUCCESS,

 Jody White

Executive Director, Founding Partner

Dress for Success Des Moines

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