Lost your job? ‘Tis the season to find a new one

Losing your job just before Christmas must seem like the end of the world, and hundreds of staff will be feeling under threat at the moment as household names such as Comet and DirectLine close stores and cut back on their operations. More than 1,000 Comet staff have already been made redundant, and experts believe there may be more to come.

For most of us it’s the most expensive time of the year, so not knowing how you’re going to pay off that credit card come January simply adds to your dented pride and confidence.

But Christmas and New Year are also a good time for reflection, and a time for a new start. Contrary to what people might think, we recruiters don’t spend the whole of December lunching clients and drinking mulled wine – we’re actually quite busy. Lots of projects come to a close or companies are rounding up their financial as well as calendar years, so it’s a good time for candidates to be thinking about their next step.

So while I don’t wish to make light of the pain of losing a job at Christmas, there are a few ways you can turn this into a positive, and look forward to the New Year with confidence:

  • Get in there early. January is one of the most popular times of year to look for a new job, yet companies advertise according to need. Find out what’s out there now and beat the January rush.
  • Take time to reflect. Whether you’re coming to the end of a contract or are suddenly out of work, what are your most recent achievements and how could you sell these to another employer. Use the quiet Christmas holiday days to make some notes and update your CV.
  • ‘Tis the season to do some networking. Make the most of contacts’ Christmas mood and invite them out for a drink or some lunch – it could mean they bear you in mind for new projects in 2013.
  • Develop your own ‘preferred supplier list’ of agencies. Find one or two consultants who can represent your interests in the job market and be forthright about the kind of job you want and the direction you want your career to go.
  •  Never mind the gym membership. Start the new year by acquiring some skills to make you more marketable to employers – anything from IT skills to employment law could make all the difference when you’re down to the final few.

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