Christmas could be the perfect time for clued-up jobseekers.
Whether it’s on our smartphones, tablets or laptops, the pressure to keep up to date with what’s happening in our own little worlds can be almost overwhelming. From what our friends are saying on Facebook, to breaking international news on Twitter, we have the power to connect like never before.
And this ease of staying in the loop means we could be increasingly giving in to the temptation to check our work emails when we’re not supposed to be working. According to our latest poll of UK workers, 56 per cent of us expect to be looking at our work email on Christmas Day this year.
Also, emphasising a real can-do attitude to Christmas toil, more than three-quarters (77 per cent) of us you would be prepared to work on Christmas Day if the outcome was a new job.
Overall, a third of us will be at our workplaces during the Christmas period, with a further 10 per cent working from home.
Christmas can be a great chance to get ahead of the pack before the January rush, by focusing on your job search and brushing up your CV and interview skills.
Most of us would probably rather switch off and enjoy some well-earned rest at Christmas, but our survey highlights the extent to which technology enables us and even obliges us to keep in touch with our work.
Here we look at the issue of working – and looking for work – at Christmas, and the role that technology can play.
The specialist recruiter
Recruiter, CJ Walker, who runs boutique digital communications consultancy Firehead, says she’s not surprised that jobseekers are staying switched on and checking emails at Christmas, as they gear up for “New Year’s Syndrome”.
“The New Year is a natural break, the holidays give candidates time off to prepare their CVs and search their options. Everyone is looking forward,” she added.
Of course, as we’re all doing such a large amount of digital communication, it makes sense to give some serious thought to how we may be coming across online. CJ says she Googles every single person she is interested in interviewing – and then cuts her shortlist down from this.
“The ‘always-on’ nature of digital communications provides a lot of information for recruiters to use: good, bad, and ugly,” she says.
“Although it is very possible to represent yourself inaccurately online, gaps of poor judgment say a lot. Recruiters can build a rounded picture of a person if they research so much available information online. What you see – and what you don’t – says a lot.”
The active jobseeker
From a jobseeker’s perspective, adopting a proactive approach over the festive period could be a potential gamechanger.
One person who will be keeping her eyes open this Christmas is recent graduate, Harriet McWilliams. She’s looking for a job in marketing, but also worked her way through university with a job in a restaurant – and can sympathise with the 77 per cent of us who said we would work on Christmas Day if it secured a new job.
Whatever industry you’re interested in, Harriet advises jobseekers to take the opportunity to get a foot in the door at Christmas, gaining experience and making yourself indispensable at a potentially busy time.
“Potentially, if you can impress them enough maybe they will extend your contract,” she adds.
Through her job search so far – and through experience of internships along the way – Harriet has devised her own strategy. And it’s all about making the most of your contacts.
Harriet explains: “Gaining a large network, consisting of a variety of people, is important, as even if some of these people may not be specifically relevant to you, they may have knowledge or contacts that are.”
Corporate Handyman, Martin Ellis, offers some advice and encouragement for anyone who is looking for a new job. He recommends striking while the iron’s hot – whether you’re one of the 33 per cent of you who will be in work, the 10 per cent who will be putting in the hours from home, or part of the majority who should be sitting back and relaxing.
Martin says that it doesn’t matter where potential jobseekers are at any one moment; they are more active than they’ve ever been and are able to “pounce at anything that moves” – even when they are, in theory, relaxing at home.
“I can remember a time when the Christmas holiday was just that – a holiday – but the internet doesn’t sleep, and people were never more attached to their technology than today,” he adds.
The technology specialists
According to recruitment software company Arithon, the technology aspect can make the hiring process at Christmas that bit more manageable.
Writing on the company’s blog, Manuela suggests using Cloud software to stay in touch – accessing with any device, wherever you are in the world – and keeping your eyes open on social channels for the latest positions.
So whether you expect to be putting in the proverbial shift this Christmas, or sitting back with the turkey and sherry, remember that you could be just a few clicks away from your new job – provided you are ready to move before that New Year rush…