November 23, 2010 | | Leave a comment Black Friday kicks off in just a few days and if you’re like most people your financial situation falls into one of two camps; A) Your disposal income is still tight, but hey, at least you have a job, or B) It’s almost the end of the year and you still haven’t found a job. If you fall in the latter camp, don’t despair. Landing a job during the holidays isn’t as hard as you might think IF you continue to commit to your search. It’s easy to convince yourself that nobody hires between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but in reality that’s just a myth. In truth, employment in the last quarter of every year always jumps slightly. Why? Well, since you asked let me tell youâ€¦ 1. Seasonal Work It’s no surprise that starting the week before Thanksgiving many retail and service industries begin hiring temporary seasonal work, which is what gives the fourth quarter its big employment boost. Chains such as Target and Best Buy, for example, need help everywhere from the stockroom to the sales floor. Plus, catering companies, restaurants, and even florists hire additional wait staff, food prep, and delivery people. And let’s not forget department stores and Salvation Army always need Santas. True, these are not permanent jobs, however, they can lead to long-term work, either with the company that hired you as a temp, or by making contacts through your temp work. (At the very least, it’s extra income over the holidays, and who can argue with that?) 2. Not as Much Competition Because people have this misconception that companies don’t hire during the holiday season, a lot of would-be new hires give up the job search until after New Year’s Day. Fine. All the better you, who instead of throwing in the towel, redoubles his or her efforts. Don’t get sidetracked by common holiday distractions such as shopping (which you probably can’t afford to do, anyway). Stay focused by devoting a little time everyday (even if it’s just an hour or two) to finding work. If whatever you’ve been doing hasn’t worked, then look for new opportunities that don’t exist any other time of the year, such asâ€¦ 3. Holiday Parties Whether you’re employed or not, you’ll undoubtedly be invited to several holiday parties. Instead of being a Grinchy sourpuss who mopes around due to unemployment, put on your best holiday frock and get out there and mingle. Parties are the best way to network and make new business contacts. The environment is non-threatening, everyone’s a little more at ease (especially if they’re drinking, which could NEVER happen in a job interview), and no one has to commit to anything other than having a good time. If possible, convince your employed friends to take you along as a guest to their office holiday parties. The more parties you attend where you hardly know anyone, the better your chances of meeting new business contacts. 4. Use It or Lose It And finally, if you’re not opposed to consulting work, corporations who use consultants often have to use up their remaining project budgets by the end of the calendar year. If they don’t they run the risk of losing, or getting less, funding for next year. So in an effort to protect their money pots they often hire consultants at the end of the year to burn the last dregs of the project budget. Yes, this is a lot like seasonal temporary work, however, usually you’re in a white-collar environment (like banking, aerospace, or technology development) as opposed to retail sales or wait staff. Plus, you have a much better chance of being hired on as a permanent employee (or as a long-term consultant) if they like you. So don’t pass on the “consultants-only” section of the want ads, jut because you think it can’t sustain you indefinitely. It quit possibly can. Regardless of how you feel about the holidays, don’t use them as an excuse to quit looking for a job (or a for better job, if you’re currently employed). There are a several job-seeking opportunities that don’t exist any other time of the year. Why let those opportunities go to waste just because you think everyone else is distracted by eggnog and twinkling lights. Because guess what? Turns out they’re not.