Due to the colder months and the holiday season, business often slows down this time of year. This is especially true for those in the networking world as some jobs and projects take place outside. Plus, decision makers and recruiters take time off, often slowing the hiring process for candidates. However, there’s plenty you can do now and through the end of the year to increase your opportunities and boost your career going forward.
Prepare for the slower season
This is an important place to start. While you can’t change the weather or business practices, you can prepare yourself for the shift in opportunities. You can also start planning ahead to counter the effects of the dip in business. This means budgeting. Save money if you know there’s a chance you won’t have your usual number of hours or new projects during this time. Make note of what expenses you have (including holiday spending and travel) and put that aside as soon as you can.
In previous blogs, my colleagues have mentioned the importance of building relationships and not burning bridges. Simply by doing good work, staying in touch with recruiters and fulfilling your contracts, you are putting yourself in a good place to continue working. Once you have those relationships established, you can reach out to your network to begin your search for the next gig.
If your current contract is ending before or during the holiday season, start looking for your next one well ahead of time. Talk to recruiters and hiring managers to let them know when you’ll be available for the next contract. Don’t wait because any jobs that are out there will be filled before you know it.
Update your resume
Take this time to showcase your skills and past projects on your resume so it reflects your most current and relevant work. If a recruiter calls, you don’t want to waste time adding your latest projects. Keep in mind it’s easier to land a new gig when you are consistently working. The fewer gaps there are in your resume, the easier it is to get placed on a new project. Even if you have to take on shorter projects while you wait for a longer-term contract, this will serve you in the future.
Certifications and professional development
If you want to take time off or you aren’t able to land a contract, use the time wisely. Take a class, obtain a certification or do something that boosts your career. It’s much easier to explain a four-week gap in employment with a new programming certification or a safety training. Recruiters and hiring managers look for these certifications that put you above the rest of the candidates. Once you do complete a training or certificate, add it to your resume right away.
Consider traveling for the season
One unique aspect of the gig economy is the ability to travel for jobs for a specific amount of time. If you work in the northern part of the U.S. it may be harder to find jobs in winter months. Consider taking a project in the southern part of the country where construction continues nearly year-round. It doesn’t have to mean a permanent move, and you can return home once business resumes in your area.
Likewise, bigger cities have more projects during this time of year, so even if you’re not prepared to move cross-country, extending your commute to fulfill a contract in a new location can help you stay employed and explore new opportunities. Remember to keep building relationships along the way.
Spring will be here before you know it. But in the meantime, there’s plenty you can do to earn money and build your skillset. Get in touch with our recruiters to find open positions in your area.