Many people on the job hunt think they should take a break during the holidays because “no one is hiring,” but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Just as you’re able to take some time to think about your next professional steps, insurers often use this slower season to strategize on hiring needs.
Because of this, the hiring market doesn’t really slow down between Thanksgiving and December 31. In my experience as a recruiter, scheduling screening calls is often easier during this time of year, as everyone’s calendars tend to be more open. Here’s how you can be ready to put your best foot forward, maximize your time off around the holidays and start the new year on your way to a new job.
Refresh Your Resume
With holiday time off built into your schedule, it’s a good time to polish up your resume. Oftentimes, professionals don’t work on their resumes unless there’s a timely need, such as a pressing application or informational interview. By proactively reviewing your resume now, you won’t have to scramble if a recruiter reaches out or your dream job opens up. Make sure your current position and responsibilities are up-to-date (and those of past roles if it’s been awhile since you last visited your resume). Include major accomplishments, completed courses and professional training, and company milestones you helped meet. You never know when you’ll need a complete view of your work history, so take this time to catch yourself up.
Update Your LinkedIn Profile
Similarly, many candidates forget to keep their LinkedIn profiles current, even when they’re routinely adding to their resumes. This is often the first touchpoint for recruiters considering you for new positions. Now is the time to ensure your work history, profile summary and headshot accurately represent you. If you’re active in any insurance associations or charitable organizations outside of work, don’t hesitate to include those in the accomplishments section of your profile–this gives recruiters a wider view of your cultural fit within a company.
Catch Up on Industry News
While you have some downtime and are transitioning from the relentless go, go, go of the pre-holiday season, take your work-focused mindset and put it to good use. Find out what you’ve missed in the insurance industry this year by reading articles from key industry publications, catching up on industry comings and goings, and looking into industry hiring and revenue expectations for the year to come. This is also a good time to brush up on function-related skills. Consider taking an online course to make sure you’re at the top of your game.
Set Professional New Year’s Resolutions
Once you’ve updated your work history and made sure you know what’s happening in the industry, set aside some time to set intentions for the coming year. Put yourself on the right path by reflecting on the past year from both personal and professional standpoints: think about what you’ve accomplished, consider what goals you had (Did you meet them? What were the difficulties?), and lay out some goals for the next year. Think about any particular challenges you’d like in a new role. Whatever you do, set clear, concrete goals and hold yourself accountable (or find someone who will).
Reconnect with Your Network
The insurance industry is fairly small, so maintaining connections is key. The holidays could be a good time to strengthen those relationships while you and your contacts have coinciding time off. This may be as simple as reaching out to grab coffee. Consider how you can help your connections achieve their own professional goals, pass along relevant articles you read and start conversations that may guide you on your job search.
Despite having extra free time in your schedule, don’t make the holidays all about cramming in phone calls and resume updates. Remember to spend time with family and friends, and embrace work-life balance. Taking a break is necessary both personally and professionally, so power down your computer at times and turn off your phone notifications. Work and the job search will always be there when you log back on. Jacobson wishes you and your family a happy holiday season!