Ask anyone and they’ll likely agree that the holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year. For professionals, it means wrapping up end-of-year goals, meeting deadlines in between office parties, and strategic planning for the year ahead. With the flurry of activity, it’s easy for job seekers to feel discouraged that the hiring process will slow if not stall altogether during this time.

While it’s true that response rates will decrease during the holidays, job seekers should leverage this time of the year to their advantage.

“It may seem like things slow down around the holidays when it comes to applying for new roles, but it can actually be a real opportunity for job seekers,” ForceBrands‘ Senior Executive Recruiter Andie Turitz said. “Use the ‘downtime’ to amplify your résumé. Review open opportunities, read job descriptions, and research what type of people are already employed within the company. Go back to your credentials to ensure your résumé, LinkedIn profile, and supplemental materials all capture the right content to attract employers of interest.”

In between fine-tuning their résumés and exploring opportunities online, job seekers should also take their search offline.

“The holiday season was made for networking. Take advantage of this time to make connections and build out your network — you never know who you may meet or what opportunity might come your way,” ForceBrands’ Executive Recruiter Lisa Lanza said.

Job seekers shouldn’t lose momentum in December, either. Those who are proactive during the holidays will gain an edge on the competition in the new year.

“Once January rolls around, hiring managers are going to re-open their searches, and your email, résumé, or application will be sitting at the top of their inbox,” Charlie Vella, ForceBrands’ Senior Manager, Training & Talent, said. “If you send your application, note, or request in December, rather than January, it puts you a step ahead of candidates who wait until the new year to begin or resume their search.”

Vella also cites that looking for a job is comparable to working in Sales: it’s about reaping the benefits of your outreach. “Use December and the holiday lull to get ahead on your research and outreach — it will pay off in January when a hiring manager needs résumés and candidates to jumpstart a search.”

Turitz agrees that the holiday lull is an opportune time to get ahead of the competition.

“Use this time as an opportunity to get ahead of the game so your credentials are beyond competitive when more aggressive hiring picks back up,” Turitz said.

January is an important month for job seekers. To stay motivated and encouraged, ForceBrands’ Senior Executive Recruiter Olivia Rodriguez says candidates should “keep their eyes on the prize” and focus on the new year and new opportunities.

“Hiring managers are going to hire quickly come the first week in January,” Rodriguez said. “If you’re not receiving many responses from applications, remember that many employees are out of the office. Once they return, the hiring process will be faster. Since many professionals wait to finish out the year before leaving their current role, there’s always a surge of new jobs come January.”

Ready to make career moves? Explore our online job board or speak to one of our Executive Recruiters.