Valley Works: Using holiday parties to your advantage

FRESNO, California

Companies announcing job cuts at the end of the year may discourage some job-seekers from looking for work now.

Getting laid off a few weeks before Christmas is very real for some workers.

Unfortunately, many decide to wait until the first of the year to look for employment. Job specialists say waiting is not a wise move.

Tis the season for holiday shopping and parties, a festive mood as people prepare to celebrate the season. It seems to affect the workplace as folks look forward to time off, including the bosses. A big reason many job-seekers may choose to put their search for employment on hold.

Human Resources Specialist Barbara Beckerley said, "It really is just a myth that this is a bad time of year to look, this is probably the best time to look."

Beckerley says there are a number of reasons to continue your job search through the holidays.

Starting with all those holiday and office parties. These social gatherings present an excellent opportunity for you to network and meet a potential employer.

Beckerley said, "You're not going to monopolize that persons time probably get a card so you can follow up after that social event."

Susan Good, a consultant who often looks for situations to meet potential clients, says it's a great opportunity to reconnect with people you haven't seen for awhile.

Good said, "You can count on a party like this where you can see people you haven't and you can make that reconnect and you tell them about what you're doing and you also find out what they are doing and may be able to help them."

And consider this, since many job seekers may stop looking during the holidays, that means less competition, less candidates in the applicate pool.

Beckerley said, "So you want to be out there looking when your competition is not."

Beckerley, who volunteers at Central Valley Professionals a job club for the unemployed, says while companies may not be hiring now, many will be after the first of the year. So now is a good time to market your skills and put yourself out there.

Small business owner Carey Catalano hosted this holiday open house, and says many of those attending did just that.

"I had 7 people that came up to me and said I've heard a lot about your company, I wanted to come meet you, see what you do are your hiring," Catalano said. "I said I am not hiring but please send me your resume."

Catalano says as an employer that face to face contact leaves an impression.

"To actually come to an event and say hey I'm looking speaks volumes for the candidate," said Catalano.

It's all about making contact and letting people know you are in a job search.

So when you send out those holiday cards let family, friends and business associates know you're still looking.

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