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  • Stacey Baker

How to keep busy over the quieter festive period

Things will go quiet over the festive period, but you need to ensure that you use this time to your advantage. So here are a few tips to keep yourself busy for the next few weeks.

1. Talk, talk, talk

Career experts often advise talking your career options through with others. Over the seasonal break, it might be a good chance to use the captive audience of family and friends to discuss your work. Your family are often your harshest critics, which might be just what you need to reinvigorate your job search.

Talking to family members who you haven't seen in a while might also reveal a valuable contact who could put you on the path to finding your dream job. You might not have thought of Christmas as a networking opportunity, but always keep your eyes peeled for opportunities.

2. Experiment with different CV formats

Trying out new CV formats can take valuable time out of your job hunt so use the Christmas break to experiment. If you've suffered a spate of rejections, perhaps your CV needs a make-over. Try designing different formats: a qualification-led CV where you draw out aspects of your studies that will be interesting to an employer; a skills or competency-based CV that closely matches jobs specifications; or a profile-led CV where you kick-off with a short summary of yourself and what you have to offer.

3. Broaden your horizon

Career advisers often warn jobseekers against the scatter gun approach of applying for every job you come across. But it might be worth spending time over Christmas really digging out roles you may not have considered before. This will put your job hunt into perspective and give you new ideas for your CV and covering letter. It might also either reassure you that you're targeting the right jobs or make you see the light and change track.

4. Review your contacts

Think back to all the contacts you have built up in the past – this might be from work experience, previous employers, college and university tutors – and draw up a list of relevant people to contact. Identify how each might aid your job search and maybe even write a draft email for each contact, ready to send off in the new year.

5. Get organised

Job hunting is time-consuming. Use the spare time you have over Christmas to whittle down your to-do list and design your own admin system so you can effectively keep track of all your applications. Create a spreadsheet to categorise your applications, the jobsites you've signed up to, the usernames and passwords and links to your applications so you can track the progress of each one. This way you can save time by looking up old applications that you want to use bits of or see where you can improve. This will become more and more valuable the more jobs you apply to and in the long-term it might offer a vital resource for when you find yourself applying for jobs again.

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