Don’t Send Your Cleared Job Search on Holiday Break

Posted by Ashley Jones

While the year is coming to a close, your job search shouldn’t be—unless of course you’ve landed an exciting career opportunity. Contrary to what many assume, December is a great time to start or continue your cleared job search. It may be tempting to indulge in holiday feasts and send your job search on holiday break till the New Year, but your career prospects will thank you if you stay the course.

Putting your job search on pause wastes valuable time and leads to missed opportunities. Don’t fall for the myth that hiring is on hold. Some hiring processes may slow down, but if employers have open positions that are critical to performance in the new calendar year, they’ll want to fill these before December 31. So, stay the course and keep following-up and networking.

If you commit to continuing your cleared job search throughout the holiday season, you’ll gain an advantage as other candidates drop out of the race. Make the most of the season by maintaining and upgrading your job search efforts. Consider working on these crucial job search components to make the season bright:

Conduct Industry Research

Whether you’re just beginning your cleared job search or you’re in the midst of interviews, collecting job search intel is your friend at any stage of the hiring game. What companies are you interested in targeting? What questions should you ask them in interviews? What’s their culture like? How can you get in touch with their recruiters?

To answer questions like these, make use of career sites, professional networking platforms like LinkedIn, ask contacts in your network, or listen to our Security Cleared Jobs: Who’s Hiring & How podcast to hear directly from cleared employers.

If you’ve missed the invaluable career intel shared on our podcast this year, take some time this holiday season to listen back and learn about the companies that have joined us on the show. They share insights about company culture, the types of roles they’re hiring for, exciting new contracts and opportunities, tips and tricks to help you impress them throughout the hiring process, and much more!

The more you understand about the cleared hiring market, the better you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for and position yourself to shine in the hiring process.

Refresh Your Resume

Once you’ve decided which companies to target, you’ll need your resume ready to go. If you’ve been in job search mode for longer than expected, take the time now to review your resume and see how you can improve it.

Remember, your cleared resume is an advertisement, not your biography. The goal of your resume is to get a hiring manager or recruiter to contact you for an interview. It should only include details that are relevant to the position you’re applying for—so target your resume whenever possible.

If you’re sharing your resume with someone in your network or attending a job fair with multiple employers, it’s not always possible to target it to a specific job opening. In that case, make sure it demonstrates the direction you want to take your career.

When you apply for a position, recruiters do a quick scan of your resume to see if it merits a deeper dive. Grab their attention quickly with a concise summary that illustrates what value you offer to the specific targeted employer. And be sure to focus on accomplishment statements rather than listing responsibilities—this is one of the most important improvements you can make to your resume.

If you haven’t made it through to the next steps in the hiring process like a phone screening or interview yet, ask yourself if your resume really says what you think it says. Is your resume serving your job search well? A resume doesn’t get you hired – it just opens doors. So proofread, refine, and rewrite when necessary to make sure it’s up to par. Read here for more tips to write your most effective resume.

Keep Networking

This step goes far beyond the holiday season, as networking should continue throughout your career, not just when you’re in job search mode. Your network is a valuable long-term professional development tool. It takes time to build, but it’s well worth it. Your network is how you gain intel, referrals, and access to the hidden job market.

Successful job seekers create a comprehensive written networking plan of their contacts and referrals. Identify the people in your network and keep a running tally of your interactions with them. Once you’ve identified your contacts, proactively connect and stay in touch periodically, not just when you need something from them.

Your networking plan provides a path to ultimately uncover career opportunities, get on an employer’s radar, and gain a place of priority over other candidates. Expanding your professional network is worth investing in so make it a priority this season.

Manage Your Job Search and Marketing Plan

Job search is tough and there’s a lot to keep track of throughout the process. It can be overwhelming to keep everything straight. This is where a marketing plan comes in handy. Don’t approach job search haphazardly. Take control by developing a plan upfront that provides direction for daily job search activities to stay organized and focused on your objective. Having a plan in place will ensure you don’t fall victim to watching that holiday movie you’ve already seen a million times when you should be working on your job search.

If you haven’t put together your plan yet, start now by identifying your skills and experience. Then identify industries and specific companies that value your skillset. And finally target and contact those employers. Keep in mind, your marketing plan is a work in progress. Add companies as you go and remove those that you realize aren’t the right fit. Set daily and weekly to do’s as simple as when to follow up with a recruiter. It helps keep your job search moving forward and prevents things from falling through the cracks. So manage your job search to increase the chance that you spend your time, energy, and resources on activities that lead to opportunities.

These steps may not sound groundbreaking, but the fact of the matter is, many job seekers don’t do these things. If you manage your marketing and networking plans, and continue to refine your resume, you’ll be ahead of the competition—especially those who give up on their job search this season.


  • Ashley Jones

    Ashley Jones is ClearedJobs.Net's blog Editor and a cleared job search expert, dedicated to helping security-cleared job seekers and employers navigate job search and recruitment challenges. With in-depth experience assisting cleared job seekers and transitioning military personnel at in-person and virtual Cleared Job Fairs and military base hiring events, Ashley has a deep understanding of the unique needs of the cleared community. She is also the Editor of ClearedJobs.Net's job search podcast, Security Cleared Jobs: Who's Hiring & How.

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This entry was posted on Monday, December 05, 2022 9:05 am

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