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The ultimate guide to your festive job search

By Alex Shteingardt, Managing Director of Hays Russia

If, for whatever reason, you have been unhappy in your job for quite some time, I’m sure you can’t wait to escape for a week or two over the Christmas period. Of course, this time is all about relaxing and catching up with loved ones, and you need to enjoy this well-earned break.

However, if you are already dreading that first day back in the New Year, then I would strongly advise setting some time aside during the holidays to really focus on searching for a role which will make you feel fulfilled next year. To help you, I have collated some of our most popular advice to form your ultimate guide to job searching over the festive period.

1. Planning your time

Even with intentions of being productive, it’s easy to get distracted over the Christmas break; whether it’s catching up with friends and family, or spending your days watching your favourite Christmas films.

Like I said, you need to enjoy this break, but do try to plan pockets of time in advance where you focus solely on covering each stage of the job search strategy outlined below. Our Regional Director of Hays Singapore, Grant Torrens, has some great advice for striking the right balance between switching off during your Christmas break, and using your time productively. Grant advises that you should “set some time aside to search for jobs, even if it’s just a couple of hours for your first few days off… do this at a time when you are most productive, such as first thing in the morning.”


2. Crafting the perfect role  

Now onto the job search itself. I would strongly advise against jumping straight into your search without really contemplating what it is you want from your next opportunity. This could be the very reason your last role didn’t work out.

Instead, now that you have some time set aside, use it to craft your ideal opportunity; from the job remit, possible progression paths and how they align to your long-term career goals, to the company size, culture and industry. Our CEO and LinkedIn Influencer Alistair Cox  gives an insight in a previous blog about how earlier in his career he took the time to write down the key criteria for his perfect job. He explains “…that alone was a very revealing exercise because it forced me to write down descriptors of my ideal work environment, and that’s hard. It also showed me very clearly that I needed to move because my current environment at the time bore little relation to my ideal, but now I could understand precisely why I felt unsettled.”


3. Updating and tailoring your CV

Once you have your ideal role cemented in your mind, it’s time to update your CV, tailoring it to each opportunity you apply for. Marc Burrage, Hays Poland Managing Director, has previously explained how your CV must answer these three key questions:

  1. Why are you interested in this job, company, and industry?
  2. What value can you bring to the organisation?
  3. What is your current and future potential?

Remember that your CV is essentially your pitch – “a pitch that succinctly answers all those burning questions your audience (i.e. recruiters and hiring managers) have about you. And, the degree to which your CV can answer their questions well, will have a huge bearing on whether you are invited to interview. So, you must ensure your answers are strong, clear, tailored and relevant.”


4. Enhancing your social media presence

It’s also essential that your online professional profiles are up to date, and your presence on these networks is optimised. Like with your CV, tailor your online profiles to emphasise the skills which align to the type of opportunity you are looking for. I would also advise engaging with your network, following the people who inspire you within your industry, liking, sharing and commenting on relevant content, and on the whole, building a stronger online brand for yourself.

There are some important pitfalls to avoid, however. In her blog, Regional Director of Hays Australia, Eliza Kirkby clarifies the correct way to enhance your social media presence when looking for a job; from what time to post updates, to the type of material you should be posting. I would also add that building your online brand takes time, so keep this activity consistent. Your social media strategy should be for life, not just for Christmas!


If you’d like some more advice for optimising your LinkedIn profile specifically, Adam Hawkins, Head of Search & Staffing at LinkedIn, recently shared his top tips for refreshing your profile in order to find your next job opportunity:


5. Applying for roles

At this point you should be feeling ready to put yourself forward for roles. Jane McNeill, Director of Hays Australia, provides some practical tips on how to be productive and organised during your search, but also staying motivated once you start applying.

In one of her points, Jane advises that: “It is important that you keep your spirits high during your job search, even if you don’t get an interview for a role that you really wanted. Not every application leads to job search success, but don’t give up. It can help to talk about your next move and your search progress with mentors, friends and family. You should also take regular breaks and reward yourself for a productive job searching session. The key is to stay motivated.”


If 2021 really does spell “new year, new career” for you, then set some time aside over the festive break to really consider what it is you are looking for, and how you will strive to achieve this. Hopefully our job search advice will help you in driving your career success forward, both now and in the future.



Alex joined Hays plc in 2008 with a sole aim of launching the operations of the leading global recruitment company on the Russian market. By attracting some of the key people in the industry Hays operations doubled year on year. Currently, we are expanding teams, both in terms of functional recruitment areas (i.e. Accountancy & Finance, Internal IT etc.) and in terms of industry expertise (i.e. Oil & Gas, Resources and Mining).

Alex graduated in economics from the Russian State Academy of National Economy. He started his career in 1996 as a Project Executive for an international engineering company. His career in the company developed for over 8 years, and he reached the role of Managing Director of the Russian subsidiary. In 2003 Alex joined a well-known European retailer to launch their operations in Russia. He later began his career in executive search and recruitment with a Pan-European executive search consultancy.

Alex has been with Hays for 9 years and is reporting to Managing Director of Northern Central and Eastern Europe.



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