Why Job Search In January?


When your blog and subsequent post in discussion groups is read around the globe, one of the key things you have to understand is that when it’s the dead of winter for some readers, it’s mid-summer for others. So me commenting on job searching when it’s cold, snowy, icy and there isn’t a great deal of daylight might seem off to many readers.

Of course I’m writing this from Canada; from the Province of Ontario. My home is set in a community about an hour and a half north-east of the City of Toronto. While I live in a town, I work an hour away in the City of Oshawa which gives me both the rural and urban, small town big city perspective. That perspective often rolls into the blogs I write.

So today is January 25; a month ago it was Christmas day, and a lot of unemployed people were putting off their job search until the start of 2015 under the mantra that nobody hires in late December. Now in 2015, many of those same people have barricaded themselves in their homes and apartments, sheltering themselves from the dead of winter and promising themselves that they’ll start job searching when things warm up a bit, the streets aren’t as dark and the roads to travel on are less treacherous.

When you are looking for work, one of the most obvious things one has to deal with is the competition; the number of people you are up against for those positions you are applying to. Wouldn’t you normally jump at an opportunity to get an edge up on that competition? Take advantage of a situation when you could compete against fewer applicants? Welcome to January in the northern hemisphere.

Okay so for starters, there are many people who are giving themselves a month or two to kick back and sit on the sidelines as far as job searching goes.

Now here’s another advantage for you if you are wise enough to realize it. Some of the jobs you might want badly in the summer are in fact doing their resume collecting, interviewing and hiring right now. The prudent job hunter who for example is seeking a job as a Youth Counsellor in a residential summer camp would be wise to be sending their resume to all the residential camps they are interested in working for right now. In fact, you may already be too late to submit your application for some of these camps even though you wouldn’t start the job until late May or early June.

Now let’s stay with this particular profession for another suggestion. Suppose as a late-twenties to mid-forties Youth Counsellor, you are finding your resume lacks recent experience. Your concern is that while you have recent education and perhaps even great references, those references are 4 or 5 years old and becoming a great deal less impressive because of the widening gap in time. How can you quickly get 2015 experience on your resume?

One option could be to get into a situation quickly where you are working with youth. Although it’s nearing the final week of January, you could be one of the smart ones who has applied for a job with some Recreation organization supervising March Break programs. Here in my part of the world, some of those positions have already been advertised for and the application deadlines past.

“Ah”, you might counter, “I didn’t go to school and become a Youth Worker, Teen Counsellor, etc. just to take a 5 day job over the March Break.” On the surface I see your point. However, consider this: we’re only 25 days into 2015 and comparatively few people have 2015 experience and training on their resume or CV. Even if you were working up to early December last year, to the mind’s eye, a quick scan of your CV makes it look like you were last working in 2014 – over a year ago. Getting 2015 experience on that resume and quickly going about it should be your prime goal.

Here’s more incentive for the wise among you: It won’t be that long until the University and then College crowds will be released from school classrooms and another entire generation flooding the job market with all their youthful enthusiasm, drive and far more recent training than you have. In 4 or 5 months, the high school kids are out too. And of course if you are a parent of a child who isn’t in school full-time, you will have a child to impede your job search come June.

So the overall message I’m sending you? GET GOING NOW! The worst snowy days are the very ones to ramp up your job search not shut it down. Just Friday I had one of the people I am working with of late decide to get out to a store and apply for a retail sales position; this despite the fact that many people are assuming no hiring goes on in January in the retail world, just Christmas lay-offs. Turns out she made a great impression and not only has a job offer to become a Sales Associate, but was first told that another location was actually interviewing for a senior role and her application would be forwarded there first. She got a call later on Friday and had an interview for a Leadership role in the 2nd location yesterday afternoon which I’ll hear about on Monday.

Yes people, get out there; they’re hiring!

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3 thoughts on “Why Job Search In January?

  1. I am one of those people you mentioned – always procrastinating for one reason or another – and have not worked full-time since May of 2010. However, over and above my apparent reticence, I was diagnosed with cancer in late 2012 and went through three subsequent surgeries, plus recovery time. So I am only now ready to start looking. My dilemma is also lack of recent experience, at least in my chosen field. After several decades working in television, I want to return to writing – but my most “recent” experience (in addition to what I did on the job and freelance work since 2010) of the sort I wish to resume, was in the 80s. How do I spin experience from so long ago?

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    1. Hello Sandy

      First and foremost allow me to thank you for reading my blog and for giving me an opportunity to respond to your job searching situation. As I understand it, you want to return to writing, something you did back in the 80’s. You’ve recovered from Cancer and last worked full-time in television.

      Your dilemma is understandable but not insurmountable. Sandy the key to achieving success starts in your situation where it begins with us all; your inner drive and commitment to yourself. Frankly, how bad do you want it? I often counsel people who are job searching in person, and when I’m assisting them I tell them they have to ultimately want it more than I want it for them.

      The reason I’m starting here is because if you’ve put off the job search effort for some time, you probably have some bad habits acquired over time and will need to start to re-program your daily routines and with a change in behaviour, your actions foretell the likelihood of obtaining your overall goal. Bad habits outside of health issues by the way.

      The one advantage you have is that Cancer is something we are all generally sympathetic to. Survivors who have battled through it have a wonderfully powerful asset which is resiliency. In much the same manner as good health at one time may have been your goal and required a change in behaviour and commitment to treatment, so too is your goal to write again and it will require a likewise battle. So when you hit roadblocks on this journey, don’t give up.

      Communicate to your potential employers (unless you are going self-employment) that you are returning to what sparks your passion. All your experience in television makes you uniquely qualified and your life experiences are keys to draw on in writing with insights you would not have had otherwise. My advice would be to not apologize for being out of the field for 20 – 30 years but rather to turn that around and thrust it forth with conviction as a necessary absence to write from a state of wisdom gained.

      I would begin with your networking contacts. Let people in on what you want to achieve. Writers write I understand, so if you have been doing some writing in your personal life, your skills may or may not be all that rusty. Only you know what subjects you wish to write on and in what capacity. Can you start with small assignments that your contacts could set you up with to brush up and get some minor success to rebuild your self-esteem and image on ?

      Be sure to communicate that you are now recovered enough to be dependable and can be relied upon. The Cancer situation will get you some sympathy and hopefully empathy but can only do so much for you as employers need productive workers. What can you handle? Start with what you can manage and deliver on it.

      Write about what you know and do it in a way that other people will gravitate to your writing as being interesting, communicated with clarity and integrity. I suspect you Sandy are far more than I the professional in this area!

      Does this answer your questions?

      With enthusiasm,

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      1. Thank you for advice – and enthusiasm! I have indeed developed – or mostly carried over from my illness – some “bad habits.” Sleeping-in is at the top of my list along with lack of structure. (While I am the first one to advise others of the need for structure in their lives, I am the last one to impose it on myself.) Now that I’ve put it out there to the world – and I suppose, spiritually, to the universe – it’s time, as you suggested, to take constructive action. Think I will begin by visiting the local Ontario employment office, if only to reacquaint myself with the landscape.

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