If you’ve worked in employment services for a while, you know that the holidays (late November through early January) are often the slowest hiring months of the year. If there is one time of year when you feel like you’re terrible at your job, it’s probably during the so-called “most wonderful time of the year!” But don’t be discouraged. While hiring numbers will likely be low during the holiday season, your job development efforts are not going to waste!
In fact, November through January may be one of the best times in the year to reach out to employers. According to Career Sidekick, “January and February is the best time of year to look for a job. Hiring managers have received new hiring budgets for the year, the majority of workers are back from holiday vacation, and companies also often have a backlog of hiring that they have been meaning to do but had paused during the holiday season.” By being aggressive with your job development efforts during the holiday season, you’ll get a head start on the hiring season that will kick off once employers get back in the groove after the New Year.
Believe me, it is worth it to brave the cold and get out there for some meetings! Here are a few tips and resources to consider as you strategize for your employer outreach:
1. Use the holidays as an opportunity to show appreciation and reconnect with existing employer partners.
The holidays are a perfect time to say thank you to the employers that you have partnered with this past year. They can also be a good time to reconnect with employers that you haven’t worked with in a while or those who have expressed interest but haven’t actually hired any of your clients yet. Consider sending holiday cards or simple gifts (such as photos of clients they’ve hired with thank you notes) to remind employers that you are there and ready to help meet their hiring needs. Use these Holiday Employer Outreach Card Templates to quickly create and send virtual holiday cards.
2. Use the slower time to branch into new industries and connect with employers with a good reputation for investing in employees.
As you think about employers to target, consider prioritizing employers that have a strong record of providing in-house training programs. These programs may help employees “climb the ladder” within the organization. A great place to start is Training Magazine’s annual “Top 125” list of organizations that excel at employee development. This list includes a wide variety of employers who provide accessible career entry points for newly arrived or lower-skilled clients, as well career laddering opportunities for higher-skilled clients. In addition to looking for employers who have a reputation for investing in employees, don’t forget to use local labor market information to inform your job development strategy!
3. Let employers know that you just want to get to know them and their needs, even if they are not hiring right now.
Sometimes employer conversations stall when employers are not currently hiring. If an employer tells you they are not hiring right now, let them know that you understand and that you don’t want to waste their time, but that you’d still be very interested in setting up a meeting to learn more about their company and what their hiring needs tend to look like throughout the year. This will help you learn the best times to be in touch throughout the year and give you the opportunity to orient the employer to your clients and services. For more on this, and other tips for employer conversations, check out the Switchboard video 4 Tips for Effective Employer Conversations.