Half-term: heaven or hell for a jobseeker?

When looking for a job, there seem to be some pretty established ‘don’t even bother’ dates in the diary: the December pre-Christmas wind-down, the slow January afterwards, and then there’s July and August when people seem to take months off for summer holidays. On top of that, there are quiet patches throughout the year and an article in this week’s Guardian Work blog reveals just why this can be a potential problem both for employers and for those seeking work.

First of all you notice the roads are quiet, then you get to work and find there are clean coffee cups” the article begins. It’s half term, a joy for all those under the age of sixteen but a difficult week for parents who have to choose between costly childcare to taking time off work. Every October, February and May thousands of employees are forced to take holidays – but what does this mean for the job hunter and how does it affect their search?

Quiet offices, unanswered emails, forgotten enquiries is the answer. It’s easier for your application to slip through the net. When employees return to work, they’re faced with a long To Do list and your application will not be at the top of their priorities.

But there are some important tips you can employ, turning these quiet periods to your advantage.

A gap opens

If the half term holidays deplete a workforce considerably, an organisation may be realising that they’re exposed and have some important positions to fill.

This is a great chance to show that you can help an organisation and that you are a perfect candidate for the job – underline your reliability, foresight and willingness to get involved, supporting a company when it is under increased pressure and workloads.

It’s all in a name

If you’ve applied for a role and received a message that the person handling your application is away, try as best as you can to get their name. This means that you know exactly who is responsible for your application and the next time you need to call or email the organisation you’ll be able to speak to the person directly as opposed to being sent to a switchboard or the wrong person.

This advice is relevant whenever you are applying for a job but even more so when the person normally handling recruitment is away.

Make a connection

If the person handling your application has been away on half-term, it’s an ideal opportunity to ask about their break, creating a personal and memorable connection.

Obviously don’t be too pushy or invasive, but you can easily make a natural connection with the person you are speaking to – “oh, we were in Cornwall last year, it was great” will last so much longer in a potential employer’s mind than you simply brushing over the subject and chasing what you’re after. Start a conversation and make them feel that you are someone they want to work with, a person much more than just a name on a piece of paper. 

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