2020 has been a year different than any other and with winter setting in and the holiday season in full swing, it’s easy to set into hibernation mode. You’re probably telling yourself “New year, new life, so let’s start the job search in 2021!”. We advise you to reconsider and use the holidays to dive into it now. It may be a season of being thankful and happy but don’t let that take you away from your goals. We wouldn’t want you to start the new year feeling miserable as you go back to your old job that you’ve been wanting to quit for a long time! With the remote job market being so competitive we would like to give you definite reasons to use the holidays for your remote career development. We will also give you seven clear strategies to make the most of this, admittedly, short time until 2020.
Why the holiday season is the best time to plan your career move
1. Companies hire year-round, but January and February see extra action
Companies hire all 12 months of the year. When they have an open position to close, they concentrate all their efforts on closing that position at the earliest regardless of the time of the year. However, especially larger companies set their budgets and hiring targets when planning for the new year. Therefore, January and February tend to be particularly busy with new open positions. They work harder to close profiles before the year-end. It will be smart to keep checking company websites, job section on LinkedIn, and remote job boards. It also means you should be ready to apply to new positions as soon as January rolls around.
2. Competition is limited, but HR departments still process applications
With the general feeling of business slowing down over the holidays, job seekers often don’t apply during this time. You may be lucky though since some companies use the slow period to catch up on a pile of applications to reach some end of year goals. Applying now could lead to you standing out amongst fewer competitors and could also show your dedication to the company you’re applying to.
3. More temporary jobs will become available that can lead to permanent positions
New year, new budget – this isn’t only true for full-time hiring, but also for new projects across an organisation. With freelance, and project-based work constantly on the rise, this could be your opportunity to get your foot in the door. Usually projects aren’t listed on career sites, but on freelancer platforms like Toptal or Fiverr.
If your New Year’s ambition is to break into a new career or work remotely for the first time, setting up a strong profile on those platforms can help you to gain experience. In addition, many companies like to hire from their pool of freelancers for permanent, full-time remote roles.
Seasonal jobs are another option to get your foot in the door. While this may make you think of picking grapes during harvest or moving packages in a logistics center, there actually are a number of remote jobs only available during specific seasons. A popular seasonal job is customer service in eCommerce before and during shopping seasons like Christmas.
However, those are usually filled well before the actual holidays, but it’s a great option to keep in mind for next year. When you land a temporary position, leverage the opportunity and showcase your skills. Regularly speak with your manager and team members to create relationships. If they do not have an immediate opportunity, the relationships can lead to an opportunity eventually. Spend time and effort in building your network and applying for other roles within the company, if anything does interest you.
4. It’s the perfect time for self-reflection and goal setting
With the year coming to an end, it makes sense to reflect on highlights and low points during your professional life or, if you are looking for a new one, your job search. Each job you applied or interviewed for should provide some takeaways and learnings. Summarising and reflecting on those will help you set goals for the next year. When you reflect on how your year has been professionally, focus on the impact you have made, your personal and professional growth, but also areas of improvement. Then decide how to include your reflections in your profile (like CV and Linkedin) as well as your pitch, or story, during interviews.
Reflecting also helps you to gain clarity for your 2020 goals. Start with a larger vision for the year and then break it down into smaller, achievable steps and milestones.
7 top strategies to find a remote career opportunity over the holidays
1. Prioritize yourself
Being self-aware is the key to personal productivity, so remind yourself of the reason for your remote job search. Whether it’s a lack of growth in your current role, a toxic work environment, or the hope to work under better leadership, you owe it to yourself to accomplish your goals. Utilise the time over the holidays to dive deeper into shortlisting companies that are aligned with your vision for 2021 and beyond.
2. Spruce up your resume & LinkedIn profile
Make sure you allocate some time to revisit your resume & LinkedIn profile. Eliminate job experiences that are not relevant to your current job search. Also include your reflections on 2020 and your vision to move forward.
Next up is to leverage LinkedIn features that will help recruiters to find you. It’s time to turn the tables around! If you are set on finding a remote position, and you haven’t highlighted your remote experience and skills to your profiles, get on that as well. If you’re unsure, what particularly recruiters are looking out for in remote candidates, check out this list of 16 essentials for remote readiness.
3. Set achievable targets for new applications
Set a daily goal of a number of new applications. With the holidays being usually busy with family and other responsibilities, find a realistic number that works for you, even if that is just one or two per day. They may not lead to an immediate interview, but you may receive an invite to interview in January. This gives you time to prepare properly and smash it next year. In addition, having a scheduled interview on your 2021 calendar will give you a big motivational boost to start the new year!
4. Prepare in advance
If the only step between you and your next remote opportunity are rounds of interviews, fret no more. Use the holidays to practice with some mock interviews. With instant feedback, you can work on the areas to improve your pitch, highlight your accomplishments and get rid of those nerves. Of course you can ask your friends and family to run through those interviews with you, but receiving impartial and professional feedback can give additional support. Our career coaches are back in early January, so if you’d like to be first in line for their return, you can already schedule your sessions now.
5. Attend networking events and community virtual holiday parties
Everyone is in a mood to celebrate, with end of year parties every other day. Some are virtual, for example through remo.co! Leverage the opportunity of acquainting yourself with some of the tools of remote workers. At the same time, it’s an ideal way to connect with other remote workers and learn about their job search. Networking can lead to learning about a new company and their current or upcoming job openings. Keep in mind, a new connection can lead to a new job, if not immediately, eventually. Conduct informational interviews with your new connections.
6. Upskill through courses
If you have an understanding of the skills you lack to land your remote dream job, it’s time to upskill. Whether you’d like to hone your remote working or remote leadership skills, you should take the opportunity to look into the accredited courses by Workplaceless. Skill-based learning happens through various educational online platforms such as Udemy, Udacity or Skillcrush. Your vision and goals for 2021 should have identified areas for improvement, so why not dive in straight away?
At acework, we are warriors for greater flexibility and happiness at work. We are here to support you on your way to a remote career. Get Remote Ready with us here – or directly sign up to match with opportunities. If you have any questions, comments or ideas get in touch directly (firstname.lastname@example.org).