The holiday season offers a great opportunity for job seekers! Below are tips on the best approach to the holiday season!

Conventional wisdom states that companies don’t hire during the holidays, and many job seekers put their searches on hold. This could be a fatal mistake; companies, in fact, do hire during this period in preparation for the coming year. The smart seeker will use this time to look for and apply for jobs, as well as set up meetings and courtesy interviews. People will be in the holiday spirit and more open to meeting job seekers in an informal format.

It may be difficult to get in the mood to party after a recent job loss, but such events, whether business related or purely social, offer excellent opportunities to expand one’s network. Do not turn down any invitations and if two events are being held at the same time, try to attend both. The key to using these parties as springboards to possible job opportunities is to meet as many people as possible. The chances are slim that you will meet the person who eventually hires you, but there is a great chance that at least one person at the party will know someone who can get you in the door at a potential employer.

If it is a business-related event with top executives (i.e. decision makers) in attendance, try to view pictures of these individuals in advance so that you can easily identify them at the event. Pictures might be found on the company’s website or elsewhere on the Internet. At the event, approach these individuals early. Because these are important people, others will also be trying to get time with them, so it is important to make an early and lasting impression.

When job searching, it is essential to be remembered by those who can most help you achieve employment, whether it is human resources executives you have met or acquaintances at target companies. One way to do this is to send a holiday card, thanking them for their help and updating them on your progress. To stand out from the dozens of other traditional holiday cards they receive each year, send an e-card.

Keep the cards light and religiously neutral, since you probably do not know the individual’s religious affiliation, if any. Remember, the e-card is not the way to ask for an interview or for direct help in your job search. It is simply a way to stay connected to your network.

The holidays are a great time to volunteer for nonprofit organizations because there is such high demand for services. There are many ways volunteer work can aid the job seeker in his or her goal of finding employment. For one, many business executives are involved with these efforts, so it is possible to expand your professional network. More importantly, volunteer work can help make you better in whatever career you work. It may give you a chance to continue honing your craft when you are between jobs and it may help you obtain new skills you did not have before.

Additionally, periods of joblessness can damage one’s self worth. It is important to maintain a high level of self-esteem while job searching. One of the wonderful benefits of helping others is that it makes you feel better about yourself.

You can use this site to help find opportunities, or go to your favorite charity and ask if they can use you:

Rather than going shopping on Black Friday with money you could be saving, you could instead budget your time and money to meet with friends and contacts to buy them a cup of coffee and wish them a Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday, and Happy New Year!