Whether you’ve been heads down job hunting or are just starting to look at what’s out there, the holidays can be a great time to make significant progress on your job search. While updating your LinkedIn and tweaking your cover letter may not be the down time you had hoped for over the holidays, this time away can serve as a nice break from your normal routine—and might even deliver some opportunities you wouldn’t have otherwise stumbled upon. Here are 4 reasons the holidays are a good time to kick things up a notch in your job search:
You’ll have more time to reflect and prepare
Before jumping into any job search, it’s always a good idea to reflect on what could have been better in your last role—and how to remedy that in the next opportunity. That could mean looking into a new industry, role, company size, or even team composition—or equally might simply mean being more picky about the colleagues you choose to work with.
But knowing what to look for next requires thoughtful reflection about what you did and didn’t like about past jobs, which can be incredibly difficult when you’re spending your days in the job you want to leave. Being away from the office—and even away from the city you live in—can serve as a much needed mental break to allow you to reflect on what you truly want (in your career and otherwise!) moving forward.
In addition to giving you additional time for reflection, down time during the holidays can also be used to prepare for job interviews—particularly if you’re struggling to find the time to fit both a job and job hunting into a normal work week. Even if you don’t have any interviews lined up, you can still spend some time preparing answers to questions typical of your role, as well as narratives for anything you might be asked to explain (such as why you were let go from a past role).
Context switching may help keep you motivated
It can be easy to burn out on job searching, particularly if you’re spending all your time doing it. But the fact that the holidays are more dynamic than your usual day-to-day—perhaps you’re at your grandparents’ house one day and a friend’s the next—can help you stay motivated by mixing things up.
That said, there’s also the risk that you feel too unsettled to get any actual work done, particularly if you’re traveling around a lot. To counter this, set yourself small milestones to shoot for over the break, and try to create structured time and space to continue working towards them (such as waking up an hour earlier than your family, claiming a spare room as your ‘office’ for the week, or finding a local coffee shop where you can go to focus).
It can jumpstart your new year
New Year’s resolutions may be notoriously broken, but there’s still something to be said for the natural break created by the holidays—and the inspiration many of us have to hit the ground running once we get back to normal life.
And starting a new job is one great way of taking advantage of that inspiration, especially while everyone else is dragging themselves back to the same jobs. If you play your cards right, you may be starting the new year in a new office, with a (hopefully) improved salary, and in a role that will propel you further forward in your career.
There may be less competition
Since most people use the holidays as a break, there may be less competition than in other times of the year (such as around bonus season, for example). That’s not to say you won’t need to try hard to land a great job, but simply that there may be fewer people applying—thus increasing your chances of doing well throughout the various application stages.
To be certain, it’s not worth sacrificing quality time with your family to hunt for jobs—but all of the time in between might be better put to use to find your next opportunity. Give it a shot this year: Who knows, you might just get your dream job for Christmas.
This post was originally published on Hired