Many job seekers take it for granted that the holidays are not the best time to be on the job market, so they suspend their job hunt until after the new year. Others get distracted by all of the holiday hullabaloo and don’t put as much time and effort into their search as they need to.
But, is many cases, this is a mistake. Unless you’re in a very specific field (or on the academic job market, for example) that has very strict hiring seasons, the majority of companies and organizations continue to hire year round, even over the holidays. What’s more, job searching over the holidays can actually present you with certain advantages that other job seekers won’t have throughout the rest of the year.
Here are 5 reasons why it’s a great idea to put (or keep) yourself in the job market during the holiday season:
You may have less competition
Because so many people wrongly assume that the holidays are not a great time to job search or get hired, they temporarily take themselves off the market until January or February. This means, you may have less competition for each job, and therefore a better chance of rising to the top of the candidate pool.
More opportunities to network
Make the holiday festivities work in your favor when you’re on the job market. From cocktail parties to office get-togethers, there are more networking opportunities and chances to grow your own professional network during the holidays than any other time of the year. Stay focused when you’re socializing over the holidays and keep your goal (of a great new job) in mind with every party you attend, every conversation you have. Let your network know you’re actively looking, and don’t be shy about vocalizing your career goals.
Companies have a clearer idea of their upcoming budgets
Most organizations finish the calendar year with clear budgets in mind for the upcoming year, and this timing can work to your advantage. For example, you may even be able to negotiate for a higher salary during the holiday season because an organization clearly knows what they can and can’t spend for the year. So, instead of hearing their usual response, “we have to wait until we set our new budget to see if we can work that [your salary request] in,” they should be able to tell you right then and there if your request can be met.
A sense of urgency from employers
Employers want to start the new year off on the right foot — they want to get important hires wrapped up and put to bed before they go on their own holiday breaks. Because of this sense of urgency around a hire, employers may be more likely to push things along quickly to get the position filled and everything taken care of before everyone leaves for the break. This could expedite your interviewing, hiring, or onboarding process.
Negotiable start date
If you’re hired right before a major holiday like Christmas you may be able to negotiate a start date that lands after the New Year. The holiday break can act as a kind of “buffer” between your old or current job and your new job, and may give you a little more time to prepare for the new role since everyone will likely be taking some time off during the last few days or weeks of the year.
This article originally appeared on Biospace.