Recruitment activity slows down over the Christmas/Summer holiday period here in Australia bit that doesn’t mean you should start panicking! In this episode I’m sharing what you can do instead, to make the most of your downtime and prepare yourself for a new year of job-seeking.

Links I mentioned in this episode:

30. The Christmas slow down… – Transcript

[00:00:00] Hi, there I’m Bec McFarland the host of the Pop Your Career Podcast. As a career coach, I’m most passionate about helping my clients to discover their own personal flavour of career fulfillment. In this podcast, we are going to be exploring ways that you too can feel more fulfilled by your work. So strap yourself in, get ready for the ride. The tips around here are fast and in abundance.

[00:00:29] Hello. Hello. It is Bec McFarland here helping you do better and be better in your career. And today I wanna talk about the Christmas slowdown, but in particular, I wanna talk about the way that the job market slows down in the lead up to the Christmas holiday period. Now, in case it is not immediately apparent, I am based [00:01:00] in Australia so when I’m talking about the Christmas period, definitely talking about it from the Australian perspective. I know that there are other countries that don’t necessarily shutdown or slow down for as long as we do here in Australia, because of the fact that, you know, you might be having a winter Christmas, but here in Australia we have Christmas at the same time that we have our summer break.

[00:01:25] So usually the kids are on holidays for a little bit longer over summer. We do have usually in a lot of industries, like a Christmas shutdown, or a period where there might be skeleton staff. It does give people an opportunity to go away on holidays, catch up with family, friends, all of that kind of good stuff.

[00:01:45] But what happens is that around this time, so the time that I’m recording is around the beginning of December, we start to see that the job market slows down considerably. And this is because with the shutdown coming [00:02:00] or that slow down period, that period where a lot of people are on leave, a lot of businesses decide that they don’t want to recruit during that period because maybe panel members will be on leave, things will be happening, it might make the recruitment process a little bit more disjointed than usual, so things tend to kind of start to slow down.

[00:02:22] Businesses are starting to put recruitment in the backseat and focus on other things as we’re headed into the new year. And usually what happens is it’s around that period from like the beginning of December through to the end of January, and it will really be probably around the beginning of February when we start to see the job market recovering and we start to see more recruitment happening.

[00:02:48] What I see from a career coaching perspective is that a lot of my clients start to have a bit of a freak out about this time, particularly if they are in a role [00:03:00] that they are not enjoying and they’re feeling that real desire to start to make some change. And what happens is because we know that that slowdown is happening, there aren’t as many opportunities being advertised, people start to get a little bit panicked.

[00:03:17] Now what happens when we start to get panicked in these situations is that I start to see people playing what I kind of call the quick flicks, which is when you just start quickly and not intentionally sending your resume out to basically anyone that’s advertising a role. It means that people start to get a little bit less discerning about the types of roles that they’re applying for because of the fact that they’re still trying to get the quantity of applications out.

[00:03:48] Now, I understand this and I also understand it from the perspective of people who may not currently have a job and may need to get into a job as soon as possible [00:04:00] because they need income to support their families. If that’s you, please understand that it’s not really where I’m coming from with this episode.

[00:04:09] I am definitely focusing on the people who are already in a job, but they are looking to change jobs. However, what I would say is that there are some tips in this episode that may still help you to really embrace this slow period, to utilize your time wisely and to make sure that you are ready to rock and roll when the job market starts to heat up in February, if you haven’t already managed to secure an opportunity for yourself over the holiday period.

[00:04:40] So what happens when we do this quick flick thing, right? It’s coming from a total place of desperation. We know that either you desperately need to get into a job or you feel as though you desperately need to change jobs.

[00:04:55] And part of this is that we are all conditioned to have this focus on [00:05:00] taking action. If you are unhappy with something, then it means that you want to do something to change it, and I get it and usually I would be encouraging my clients to take action all the time because it’s those of us who sit around and just complain about problems instead of taking action that find that nothing ever changes and they don’t ever get to where they want to be.

[00:05:23] In saying this though, I am a big believer in taking really intentional action and making sure that when we are stepping outside of our comfort zone or we’re doing things that challenge us, that we’re doing it with that intention to make sure that we aren’t just doing these things willy-nilly.

[00:05:40] The last thing that I would want for you is for you to go into this Christmas period, feel that desperation, feel that panic, start doing the quick flicks, apply to all of the jobs on Seek, Indeed, regardless of whether they feel like the ideal job for you. You look at the selection criteria. You recognize that you can [00:06:00] do this job and therefore you must submit an application.

[00:06:03] What will sometimes happen is that maybe then you’ll get invited for an interview and you’ll go for that interview and maybe you’ll get the job and feel obligated to take it or feel as though you are coming from that place of scarcity or desperation in that this is your opportunity to get out of your job that you are not enjoying and into something else. Right? It is that real sense of urgency.

[00:06:28] But what happens is that sense of urgency often leads clients or potential clients into situations where, because they haven’t been discerning, because they haven’t done their due diligence, they end up in another role that they’re gonna end up hating. It becomes this cycle of moving into a new role, getting started, things look like they’re okay. And then we hit this brick wall where we realize that the grass is not necessarily green or on the other side. And then what happens? The scarcity and the [00:07:00] desperation comes in again, and you find yourself leaving. And this is why I see people who have made a lot of changes in their resumes, which of course, as you know, can be something that you can get marked down for in an interview for a new opportunity.

[00:07:15] Employers don’t necessarily want to hire people who look like they’ve been moving all the time because it means that they’re going to invest a whole bunch of money in getting you onboarded, inducted, and trained, and then chances are you’re probably gonna leave right? Past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour. We’ve talked about this before.

[00:07:35] This episode is brought to you by the Career Clarity Quest, my absolutely free, seven day program, which is designed to support you in getting so much clearer about your next steps. Find it at

[00:07:55] So what do I suggest instead. Well, what I am suggesting [00:08:00] is that you just take your foot off the accelerator for a moment and take a little bit of this time over the holiday period to actually dive into your situation. What’s going on? What is it that’s really bugging you about the role that you’re currently in, and what is it that you are really looking for in a new job or in a new career.

[00:08:25] By stopping and taking a little bit of a step back, by utilizing the slow down period or the shutdown. If you’ve got one to reflect on your situation and maybe do some exercises, it means that you are actually preparing yourself a lot more diligently for that time in February when the job market is going to come back, and we are gonna see a lot more of that recruitment activity happen.

[00:08:54] What I just wanna add to this is that I have found that clients in the past [00:09:00] have spent this time, have done the exercises, and they’ve actually realized that changing jobs wasn’t really what they wanted in the first place. They felt like things weren’t right at the moment. And of course you get that trigger finger, right?

[00:09:15] That leads you to believe that like, quick, I better just jump into another job and then that will fix all of my problems. A lot of the time that’s not the case, and a lot of the time a change in job actually isn’t really what you need. There may just be some tweaks or changes or maybe to change the way that you work, to change your mindset, or to have a conversation with your manager about how things could be better for you in that workplace.

[00:09:39] I’ve also seen people who have gone through that process and realized that potentially they want something a little bit different to what they thought they wanted, and that changes the trajectory of their job search and means that they’re actually looking in a little bit of a different direction. We’ve gotta be [00:10:00] open to all these opportunities because if you’re not, then it means that you’re closing doors before you even start.

[00:10:07] So over the holiday period, what I would suggest for you to do is do some reflection. I’m a huge fan of journaling. If you like journaling, try that. If you prefer to talk things out, perhaps you could talk things out with a friend or a career coach, or maybe you could just use a voice messaging app on your phone and leave yourself voice messages. Sometimes you just need to say some things out loud in order to help you process.

[00:10:34] What I would say as well is that it was a great idea to spend some time considering your career values, and of course, I’ve got a resource for that, that I will pop a link into the show notes for you. It is an exercise that will guide you through the process of defining your career values and getting really clear about what it is that is really important for you when it comes to the conditions of a role or an [00:11:00] organisation.

[00:11:01] Getting into those career values because it gives you that opportunity to really start to evaluate your future roles or potential roles against that list of things that are really important. And if you’re interested, you can go back and there are a couple of earlier episodes that we’ve done about career values. That is episode six where we talked about the concept of career values, and in episode seven, I shared my career values with you to give you a little bit of inspiration.

[00:11:31] Another thing that I would suggest is going back and having a look at what your strengths and development areas are. Now, I talked about this in an earlier episode as well. We talked about your motivated skills and your burnout skills, and I would highly encourage you to revisit those conversations if you’re not sure what I’m talking Those episodes are episode 12, which was all about your transferable skills or motivated skills, and episode 13, which is [00:12:00] all about your burnout skills or the types of skills that you really want to be avoiding in your future roles.

[00:12:06] Another thing that I would really encourage you to have a little bit of a think about is your energetic preferences or behavioural preferences. Now, I teach this a lot and work with my clients around the DISC behavioural profiling method in my one-to-one career coaching.

[00:12:22] In 2023, we are going to have full DISC program available. But in the meantime, it might be something that you want to have a look up. Start to think about the types of behaviours that come really naturally to you, who you are inherently, how you utilize and recharge your energy, and how you can incorporate these learnings into your next role or your current role if you decide to stay where you.

[00:12:49] Anything that you can do during this period to really dive deep, start to introspect, dive into the things that you really enjoy and the things that [00:13:00] maybe you don’t enjoy as much and do the work to really understand them, like those things that you love. Why do you love them so much and the things that you don’t enjoy? What is it about those specific tasks or behaviours that really tick you off or make you feel unsettled?

[00:13:18] The more of this type of work that you can do, the more of these questions that you can ask yourself throughout this quiet period, the more that you can really prepare yourself when it comes to selling yourself in the new year into a new opportunity.

[00:13:35] Once you’ve got all of this information, of course it is really handy to then use it to give your resume an overhaul. Look at the cover letters that you’re sending out. Are you really selling yourself well in those cover letters? And are you tailoring your resume and your cover letter for every opportunity that you apply for?

[00:13:53] The other thing is it’s also a really great time to give your LinkedIn profile an upgrade. We have talked about [00:14:00] LinkedIn in some previous episodes, particularly the episode that we did on the Hidden Job Market, and that was episode number 18. If you’d like to go back and check that out.

[00:14:12] So the lesson of this episode, it might not be spring right now , but it is a really good time to just give yourself a little bit of a spring clean. Get into your mindset, find out what is making you tick, dive into those documents, make sure that you are prepared to really sell yourself. But not just sell yourself, sell yourself in a way that you want to be employed. Sell those skills that you want to be using. Sell the behaviours and the energy that you really, really want to bring into 2023. And I promise you that taking this extra time and doing your due diligence and then being really discerning about the roles that you apply for will always get you [00:15:00] a much better result than you will get coming from that place of scarcity and desperation and just flicking your resume out all over the place just trying to nail something down.

[00:15:12] I hope this has been useful to you. If you’ve got any questions, please feel free to reach out to me on social media. I really love to hear from you guys. I’m pretty much at everywhere @PopYourCareer, and also, if you haven’t done so, I would really be grateful if you could leave me a review on this podcast, as it does definitely help for me to entice other people to come and listen to the quick tips that we’ve got available here at Pop your Career.

[00:15:39] Have a beautiful week, and I will see you next time.


[00:15:44] Thanks so much for listening to the Pop Your Career podcast. I hope that you’ve enjoyed today’s tips and that you found value in what I’ve shared with you. If you like your career advice quick and entertaining, I would love for you [00:16:00] to subscribe. Also leave me a rating and a review. If you wanna continue the conversation, come and join me over on social media. You can find me everywhere at Pop Your Career. I’ll see you soon.


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About the author 


Bec McFarland is an experienced HR practitioner, manager, career coach and the creator of Pop Your Career. She delights in sharing practical, straight to the point career advice, spending time with her family and eating Mexican food.