At many companies, the pace of hiring slows down between Thanksgiving and New Year's. That's partly because so many people take time off at the end of the year and partly because bringing someone new on during the year-end period often makes little sense.

Of course, some jobs are filled during this period, so if you're out of work, keep looking. If you're working but hoping to land a better position, the last month of the year offers some opportunity to enhance your chances.  

While it's easy to get lazy during the holiday season, use the time to your advantage. Put in the work, and good things should happen for you in the new year.

A woman touches a screen with a search box reading find a job.

Getting a job is easier if you prepare. Image source: Getty Images.

Renew old relationships

It's always awkward to get in touch with someone after a long time and then immediately ask for something. The holiday season gives you an excuse to reconnect with old friends for no reason at all. Make an effort to touch base with old colleagues, former friends, and other people in your network.

Once you do that, it's OK to let them know that you're thinking about looking for a new job. Don't be crass about it, but if someone responds to a holiday check-in with questions that open the door, feel free to walk through it.

Fix your resume and cover letter

While you may not want to spend vacation days working on your resume and cover letter, you probably should. Update your resume and have more than one person copy-edit it. For your cover letter, you won't be able to prepare a final version, since you'll need to customize for each job you apply for, but you can get a draft in place.

Chart a course

Landing a new, better job will be easier if you have a plan. You can make the task easier by laying some groundwork.

This can include doing simple things like setting daily notifications on different job titles in your search area at Indeed.com. You'll also want to bookmark various websites and company hiring pages to check daily once your search begins. In addition, if you plan to let a group of colleagues and friends quietly know you're in the market, you can both put that contact list together and draft the email you plan to send.

Practice interviewing

If you're not great at talking about yourself or haven't interviewed in a while, the holidays are a good time to practice. Find a friend who has conducted interviews before and ask him or her to mock-interview you.

If no such person exists, have someone ask you questions and tape yourself answering. The goal is to become comfortable with your responses and to be ready for whatever gets thrown at you.

Use your time wisely

It can be a challenge to find a job when you already have one, since searching takes time. Use days off during the holiday season to do anything you can to make the process easier when your normal work schedule sets back in. That may be a sacrifice, and it may cut into your holiday relaxation plans, but a little work done early may be the key to getting what you want in the new year.

The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.