The do's and don'ts of the holiday season during your environmental career search

Wondering if the holiday season is a good time to take a break from your climate career search? Hitting pause on your environmental job hunt may seem ideal, especially when companies are in holiday mode, however,taking a break may take you out of the hiring game and cause you to lose momentum. Take advantage of this time to polish your resumes and sharpen your interviewing skills. To dive into this further, we recently spoke with Natalie Lavery from the climate recruitment company, Climate People, to find out why you should power up and not down, what to expect during this time, as well as what to do and not to do to score your dream climate career before the end of the year.

  1. What is the number one misconception about applying for jobs during the holidays?

The number one misconception about applying for jobs at the end of the year is that the job market stops. Countless job seekers will pause their search under the assumption that no one is hiring. Doing so could harm your search!

  1. In your vlog and blog post, "End of Year Hurdles in the Job Market," you mention some of the reasons why the holidays are a unique time for job seekers to apply for jobs. Could you share a few of those reasons?

While the job market never comes to a halt, the end of the year can bring some uncertainty for job seekers. This period is unique because many hiring managers have a headcount and budget to fulfill before the fiscal year ends. They strive to hire someone promptly to avoid losing the budget in the new year. However, scheduling can be challenging as many people take time off during this time. Consequently, job seekers may experience extended hiring processes despite the urgency to fill positions.

Nevertheless, it's actually a great time to search for a job! Due to the fact that the majority of job seekers put their search on hold, there is often less competition. Although more job opportunities will arise in the new year, it will also attract a larger influx of people seeking a change.

  1. Is there anything climate career seekers should know about hiring during the holiday season that's different from other times of the year? Is there etiquette related to expecting a slower response, for example, or how job seekers should greet recruiters or managers during the holidays (Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays or not at all)?

Everyone is exceptionally busy at the end of the year. Between new year planning and vacations, there is less time to get even more things done. If you’re job searching at the end of the year, you should expect delays. It’s not taboo to follow up on your applications/interviews and always remain entirely transparent about your situation.

It’s a bit complicated because as a job seeker you won’t know if the company has an end of year hiring headcount they must fill, but it’s smart to assume that they do and make yourself as available as possible.

In terms of addressing hiring managers, you should never assume and say “Merry Christmas.” Saying “Happy Holidays” is fine, but not even necessary. Happy New Year is also acceptable. If you’re unsure, it’s always smart to just follow suit and see how they address you.

  1. As you said, many job seekers take a break during the holidays. What are the pros and cons of doing so?

There are more cons than pros to taking a break during the holiday season. The job search can be mentally exhausting and difficult. If you feel that your mental health is struggling, the holiday season could be a time to take a step back and recharge. There are less jobs, so this would be the best time of the year to give yourself some time off. However, if you’re feeling invigorated, the end of the year is a great time to amp up your search simply due to the lack of competition. Come January everyone will be searching again.

  1. If job seekers do take a much needed break from their job hunt for the rest of the year, what should they be doing to prep for their job search in early 2024 and to ultimately land their dream career?

I always say that the climate job search is a three step process: learn, network, and leverage. To create the best, stand-out applications you must fully immerse yourself in the climate industry and learn as much as possible. From here, I recommend choosing three solutions that fascinate you and diving even deeper into them. If you’re not actively applying, it’s a great idea to do this research and pinpoint how your skills could help advance the companies in this space. You can create a market map of the companies in your chosen climate solutions, outline how your skills could be transferable, and start pinpointing potential companies to reach out to in the new year. It’s also smart to take a critical look at your resume and LinkedIn profile to make sure they’re fully optimized.

  1. I'm hoping this post will give job seekers hope that their job search doesn't have to end during the holidays. Do you have any more advice for this holiday season?

When it comes to competition, fewer competitors increase your chances of winning the gold! Navigating the climate job search can be challenging, so every advantage should be maximized. While the end of the year is busy for everyone, even job seekers, it's important to make the job search enjoyable instead of burdensome. If you're passionate about climate solutions and interested in this field, consider networking as relationship-building and research as knowledge acquisition. Although easier said than done, reducing job search stress and focusing on your motivation for being in this field can make the journey more enjoyable and boost your job prospects. It's worth noting that not everyone has the luxury of a leisurely job search in the climate field. In such cases, it's never a bad idea to pursue a non-climate job while working towards making it more sustainable, all the while outlining your path to a full-time climate role.

  1. Do you have any specific stories of job seekers who successfully found a job during the holidays? Please share.

Right now 3 of the 5 jobs we have posted have end of year start dates. This means that more than 50% of our jobs are going to be filled before the new year rolls around. This is not an anomaly, we see this every single year. So, once again, stopping your search during the holidays could lead you to miss out on many opportunities.

  1. Lastly, could you tell us a little bit about yourself, Climate People and any resources you would like to share such as your recent and wonderful, I might add, Climate Job Seeker Playbook?

Natalie is an avid environmentalist, marketer, communicator, & writer with a passion for digital storytelling. She heads up marketing for Climate People, a ClimateTech recruitment agency with the sole mission of mobilizing a workforce transition to climate.. With a background in grassroots environmental advocacy, she has seen first-hand the dire need for a swift and just transition away from a fossil-fuel-dominated economy. In her current role at Climate People, she advocates for job seekers and helps encourage people from all fields to transition their careers to climate solutions in hopes of creating a brighter future for all. You can sign up for their weekly newsletterHere’s a webinar-version of the Climate Job Seeker Playbook if people would prefer to watch it.

Thanks Natalie! 


You can also check out the Environmental Career Coach blog for free resources with webinars, a toolkit, and information about our podcast. 


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