Looking for a job in health care during the holidays can be a challenge. Hospitals usually ramp up recruiting in January -- to coincide with graduation at nursing schools. But don't despair: if you keep up the search during the holidays, you'll have a leg up on everyone else competing for those attractive openings.
It can be tempting, though, to kick back a bit in order to celebrate the holidays. The truth is, you can't afford to take a break from pounding the pavement, because in addition to losing momentum, you'll miss out on December's unique job search advantages.
1. Enjoy Less Competition. Many of the other candidates for the jobs you want are on vacation or otherwise out of sight, out of mind. Their absence makes it easy for you to stand above the crowd. (What crowd?)
2. Circulate at Holiday Parties. Many organizations host parties, open houses, or charity events. Accept every invitation (and give out a few of your own) so you can network with other attendees. Let every guest know about your target job and workplace, then request help getting in.
Ask: "Do you know anyone at Kaiser?" or "Do you know any school nurses?" Odds are that someone has inside information, or a lead, or a contact for you. And if they don't, they may be able to refer you to someone who does.
3. Send Holiday Greetings. You have the perfect excuse for touching base with old friends or new ones that you've met only recently. Reach out with old-fashioned holiday greeting cards, or use newfangled social media, such as on LinkedIn or Facebook.
You can even connect online with people you haven't met yet-- they'll be in a warmer holiday frame of mind. Activity slows down the last two weeks in December at most workplaces, too, so they're also likey to be available for a quick phone chat or cup of coffee.
4. Volunteer for Holiday Duty. Job hunting can make even people with tremendous self-esteem feel ineffectual. Serving the needy by ringing Salvation Army bells, delivering meals to shut-ins, or packing up groceries at a food pantry is a good way to feel like yourself again.
It's also possible that you'll meet new people you might not have met otherwise (like a big wig at a hospital you've got your heart set on) and you'll be able to relate more easily because you're equals on the volunteer site, and you both back this charity's mission.
5. Do Extra-Credit Tasks. If there's something that will help you jumpstart your search but you've been putting it off, now is the perfect time to tackle it. Do you get butterflies during interviews? Videotape a few practice interviews with friends and family. (They'll probably be more available to you about now.)
Don't have insiders at the places you want to work? Do some research on LinkedIn and check out your contacts' contacts. Ask for introductions to people that can get you closer to your goal: a wonderful new nursing job by the beginning of 2014.