Holiday parties are a great opportunity for networking.

You may have heard that companies don’t hire during the holidays, but it turns out that it’s not true. Although conventional job search wisdom says to lay off your job search until January, skipping several valuable job hunting weeks is counterproductive.

In fact, you might be more likely to get hired at the end of the year—many hiring managers have a budget they must use before the new year. Others need to hire staff before the end of the year for tax purposes. The no-hiring-during-the-holidays myth seems to have taken root in many people’s minds, but it’s just that—a myth.

Many businesses will begin hiring for new year positions in the Fall. The good news for those on the hunt for a new job is that because many people assume it’s fruitless to apply at the end of the year, the competition is less fierce. If you have a strong resume, you’re more likely to get an interview. It might actually be the best time to apply to your dream company.

Here are a few tips to get you started.

  • Use those holiday parties to network:

Sometimes, we avoid holiday parties and family get-togethers because we don’t want to be asked about that one thing—our career, our relationship status or whatever it might be. But if you can put your embarrassment on hold and make the most of it, you can really use these opportunities to your advantage. Don’t be afraid to talk about your job search at your spouse’s work Christmas party, or even those family dinners. Wouldn’t it be nice to leave Aunt Edna’s house with a lead, instead of just fruitcake? Networking opportunities are everywhere!

  • Reconnect:

Sure, it’s a busy time of year for most of us, but it’s also a great time to reconnect with those professional contacts who might be able to help in your job hunt. Have you been keeping your LinkedIn up to date? If not, log on and make sure your information is current. Then, look at the top of the page—underneath “My Network,” you’ll see “Connections.” From here, you can see all your connections and any important events. Drop them a line to say happy birthday or congratulations on a recent promotion!

Even better, send a holiday card! If you’re in contact with former colleagues or managers, a sincere holiday card or message will remind them of your existence and put you in a good light. It could come in handy when you’re looking for a new position or professional reference.

  • Volunteer:

Giving up some of your precious job search time may seem counterintuitive, but volunteering is another great way to network. Also, depending on your field and experience level, you can gain some work-related skills and pad your resume. Most importantly, you’ll be helping others. It feels good to make a difference. Volunteering has been shown to raise self-esteem, which is crucial during a job search. Many non-profits need extra help around the holidays so go ahead and check out for opportunities near you.

So, there you go, myth busted: Holiday job hunts are not completely futile. In fact, you might just land your dream job. And could you really ask for a better gift? Go ahead and get out there and don’t forget to reach out to TalentBridge for help with your job search and all your career needs.