If you’ve worked in employment services for awhile, you know that December and January are the slowest hiring months of the year. If there is one time of year when you feel like you’re terrible at your job, it’s probably during this so called “most wonderful time of the year!”
But before you give up and resort to reckless consumption of eggnog or chocolate, let me offer another perspective: December and January may be the best time in the year to begin cultivating strategic relationships with brand new employers that will benefit your clients in the long term.
Yes, some people will be on vacation, but with less hiring going on, employers probably actually have time to talk to you! Believe me, it is worth it to brave the cold and get out there for some meetings. The effort that you put in now will have a direct influence on which employers are calling you several months from now- If you want to have a good March, June, or September make it a good December.
As you think about which employers to target, consider prioritizing employers that have a strong record of providing in-house training programs that help employees “climb the ladder” within the organization. Last month at Higher’s Second Annual Refugee Employment Workshop, Dr. Faith Nibbs of the Forced Migration Upward Mobility Project (FMUMP) shared that refugees who found long term career success often did so through these types of training programs.
A great place to start identifying companies that provide training is Training Magazine’s annual “Top 125” list of organizations that excel at employee development. While some companies may be out of reach for your clients, there are many on the list that offer realistic career entry points including Jiffy Lube, Dollar General, Walgreens, ConAgra Foods, McDonalds, Choice Hotels International, MGM Resorts International, PetSmart, and Enterprise Rent A Car.
For a wonderful example of this kind of career laddering check out this video story from FMUMP about an Ethiopian refugee who has opened more than 20 Domino’s Pizza franchises!