Looking for a job while employed is no easy task. Use these tips to maximize your job search during the holiday season.

The smell of fresh-baked cookies mixed with pine needles. Your favorite carols play on the radio while mom and dad trim the tree. Yes, that joyful time of the year is finally here. While taking a long, needed rest from work, why not dust off the resume and look for new career opportunities? While it can be easier to find a new job when you’re already employed, don’t make the mistake of thinking the job-search process is simple. Juggling work deadlines and family obligations with job-seeking activities is challenging. That’s why taking advantage of your vacation may come in handy. Here's how to jumpstart your job search while still enjoying your holiday break.

Organize your time

Time is like a vacuum; it abhors emptiness and strives to fill the space with anything available. This is the basis for the popular Parkinson’s Law — “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” Whether you spend your time binge-watching shows on Netflix or updating your LinkedIn profile, there is one rule: You WILL use the time. Make an effort to use it wisely.

The day is easily divided into three or four equal parts. One part is already taken by sleep. During the holidays, this leaves two more periods to spend wisely. First, do not neglect to enjoy your well-deserved vacation. This is a time to rest and enjoy your family. Go ice-skating at the mall, spend the night watching old Christmas reruns with the children, and plan some time to go out and enjoy the holiday festivities. Meanwhile, use the other eight hours for “me time” and looking for a job.

Maintain your confidentiality

Confidentiality is the number one mistake employees make when searching for a new job while employed. Remember, telling the truth doesn’t mean you have to tell the whole truth. Keep some things to yourself. Some managers may not take the news well and will react poorly. This may result in losing a promotion or not getting a raise. Worse yet, the news may land you on the layoff list, since the boss thinks you’re leaving anyway. Career coaches advise against advertising your job search on job boards and suggest relying on your network instead. This is where rubbing elbows may pay off.

Related: Network Like an Expert: Networking Tips from the Industry’s Finest

Invest in your career

Sometimes it may not be about looking for a job but preparing yourself for future possibilities instead. Use the holiday season to renew certifications, take a class or two to increase your skills, or visit the local college career center for advice. Most universities and colleges offer two-week classes in many elective subjects. This may be a great time to learn social media management or office productivity.

Many local government and career centers also offer career training during the holidays, as well. Resume writing classes will help polish your top career marketing tool and provide you with the skills needed in the future. Some centers even offer mock interviews to help prepare you for tough interview questions.

Be realistic.

Sometimes you will put your best foot forward, polish your resume to a spit-shine, and prepare for the craziest of interview questions, but the job just isn’t there. Companies often halt or slow hiring during the end of the year to save time and money. Don’t take it too hard if you can’t find a job or are turned down. The preparation and training will help in the future.

On the other hand, juggling time off with family, holiday planning, and searching for a job isn’t the easiest of tasks. Sometimes the demands of life overtake the importance of the search. Don’t let this dissuade you. Time management requires practice, and the attention to scheduling your holiday vacation will help build these skills for later use.

Takeaways

Holiday vacations can be a goldmine for those wanting to get a jumpstart on their job search before the New Year. Free time, stress-free environments, and possibly fewer applicants make it an optimum planning time. Taking this opportunity to prepare, dividing your day into more manageable time frames, and carefully locating jobs are all part of the adventure. Don’t worry should you not strike it rich; the experience is a training ground in itself.

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