When the holiday season comes around, it brings cheer, fun, smiles, joy and distractions!  So if you’re that job seeker who has been looking around for a while or if you’re new to the search, the temptations for you to veer off track will definitely surface between now and the end of the year.  But fight the urge, because it is important to remain steadfast.  Easier said than done.  But you’ll be grateful when the new year begins, and you have a fresh start due to a small sacrifice you made now.

You can do it.  You have the power to be in control!  You have the power to initiate change!  You have the power to enhance your current situation!

Once you believe that, here are some tips to help you following through:

Remain focused on your goal.  As the weather is cooling down and the festivities are underway, it is easy to get sidetracked and procrastinate.  But don’t let it happen!  Remember that situations and circumstances don’t automatically change your current situation if you aren’t actively involved.  So be proctive and stay after your pursuits!

Keep your spirits up. This isn’t an easy one.  Naturally, the holiday cheer may be foreign to you as you focus on your situation.  But it is all a matter of perspective.  And, the saying is true that someone may very well be in a more dire predicament than you.  So be thankful for what you have.  Life. Family. Health.  And don’t be afraid to reach out to your support system during this time.  The good news is that people are always willing to help!

Make holiday get-togethers work for you. There will be a lot of parties and events hosted by family, friends, neighbors, former coworkers, etc. to attend.  An excellent advantage is that many of these will be free and they will be attended by people from various circles.  So what’s in it for you?  Networking opportunities! Yes, great conversations are to be had over eggnog and cake!  So get out there and work the room!

Most jobs are not posted. This goes for online as well as newspapers and all other places you can think of.  As it turns out, less than 20% of jobs are advertised!  So where are they?!  These days companies are using other means to make the process work for them.  They are relying on the networks of their employees for referrals in addition to other focused networks around the community; ultimately, this means less time and money spent for them to sort through applications.  With that said, you have to be out and about mingling, speaking to colleagues, and tapping into these networks so that you are referred!

Know thyself. Simply put but this goes a long way.  Can you readily explain what makes you better than job applicant number 3487 or 4727?  Know your resume like you know the back of your hand.  Be ready to discuss it from a chronological perspective in addition to a functional.  What are your strengths?  How would hiring you benefit the company?  What quantifiable contributions have you made that are indicative of your potential and capabilities?  Can you perform and deliver?  In addition to solidifying this base, what out-of-the-box approach can you incorporate to communicate your value to your potential employer?  Don’t forget that everyone is trying to tell their story and you don’t want your application to be another one in the pile!  So in the spirit of setting yourself apart, force yourself to have the most convincingly communicated story!

Follow up! Do what you can to remain at the forefront of your potential employer’s memory.  Remember that following up is a nice gesture all around so also reach out to individuals you meet so that you can start building a relationship and add them to your network.  A holiday card adds a nice touch and makes the communication timely and relevant.  Don’t forget to be tactful.  One email is a nice gesture, but six voice mails may be excessive.

Participate in other activities. As time-consuming as your search may be, it is important to do other things also.  For instance, at a time when you may think you’re the one who needs the most help, step outside of your situation and maintain your big picture perspective.   Others may need your help!  Think about volunteering or being a mentor.  Not only can strategic activities help you reduce gaps in your resume, but they may also lead to other opportunities.  You never know who you may encounter or who could be watching from afar and admiring your efforts.  Lastly, these activities may be invigorating and provide positivity just when you need it!

Get organized, go forth and conquer! Armed with this advice, get your game plan together.  Figure out how you want to allocate your time to these different activities.  Brush up your resume and make sure you are familiar with everything on it.  Rehearse your pitch until it feels natural.  Go forth, be aggressive and conquer!  All the while, don’t forget to smile!  After all, it is the holidays!