Many people believe that the holidays are the worst time to look for a job. That is a myth. The fact is that many organizations have their new year budgets approved and know exactly who they can hire and when. In addition, business travel often slows down for the holidays so people are in their offices and may be more available for informational interviews and connections.

Here are a few things you can do to advance your job search this holiday season:

• First, this is a great time to network with family and friends. Ask them what their jobs entail, how they got started and if they have any suggestions for you. You can even ask them if you can do an “externship”: ask if you can spend a half day with them at work so you can see first hand what they do and what the environment is like.

• Next, use the holidays as an opportunity to reach out to those you have already networked with to update them on your job search efforts. E-cards are a great way to stay in front of people. I once received an email from someone who had been looking for a job. It was not only helpful to know what she had been doing but it also served as a reminder that she was still looking.

• Take some time this school vacation to make a list of the marketable skills you have developed this semester. Were you able to lead a school project or club? Did you launch a small business on campus? Did you take a course whose subject area was new and interested you? All of this information is important when trying to set your career goals.

• This is a great time to ask Santa Claus for some interview-appropriate clothing. An interview suit, professional shoes and/or a portfolio make for great gifts.
Most importantly, don’t overlook the holidays as an opportunity to look for part time work, an internship or a study abroad program.

Susan Kennedy is the Founder of Career Treking, a job coaching firm that specializes in helping college students and graduates identify and find the right job. Since 2005, Susan has helped countless college grads find their ideal position and career path, regardless of college major. Susan has also published a book, The Job Coach for Young Professionals. You can find Susan on Facebook and follow her on Twitter at @SusanCareerTrek.