graduate jobs Christmas time is upon us and it's living up to its usual festive billing. The weather is miserable, the adverts are beginning to become unbearable and the lack of presents bought will be filling you with dread. End-of-term deadlines have come and gone and the university work is beginning to wind down, students are starting to get their well-earned break before the third year work load starts to bite. The trip home for Christmas and all its benefits of presents, seeing the family and a full fridge should be looked forward to. Students need this respite before finals. However, this is an ideal time to take stock and think about what to do after the finals have finished. Looking for jobs over the festive period is ideal for seeing what's out there and considering your options. Here are five reasons why the Christmas period should be used to plan for the future and see where your career might take you.

1. Companies are still open

One of the most depressing and hard hitting things about stepping into the world of work is that you no longer get the best part of a month off for Christmas. This means that companies are still open for you to submit applications to them. Companies and recruitment teams are open right up until Christmas day and many are back open in the few days between Boxing Day and New Year. This is an ideal time for students to apply as applications are still being considered and carried forward.

2. Fewer applications

Leading on from this, although they are still open, people tend to think that their applications will be buried under everyone elses when recruiters return blurry eyed and a little bit more portly to their desks. Poor graduate recruiters are always being misunderstood. However, if applications are still being submitted to companies the volume will be noticeably less and students can take advantage of this. If applicants take more time to carefully construct their applications at a time where recruitment teams are taking more time over them, this will only contribute to a higher likelihood of success.

3. Third year is going to hurt

Third year and especially the last few weeks of the summer term will be a living nightmare. There's no getting away from it and, take it from me, it will be the most stressful time of your life. You could be planning well ahead and getting all your work done early as to make sure you're on schedule and allow yourself enough time to relax but who does that? It's important to have at least a few irons in the fire, a few applications being considered while you're in the midst of finals so you're not starting from scratch after pens down. Even if it's updating your CV or organising your experiences and what you can offer employers. These are not set in stone, but it is one less thing to worry about when deadlines are breathing down your neck.

4. Closing time

While using the spare time people have over Christmas to apply for jobs could seem like a match made in heaven, there is more of a pressing matter at hand. The typical milk round period for graduate recruitment runs between September through to the end of the year and sometimes this is the end of the year. Big graduate schemes like EON look set to close at the end of 2013. Don't wait to start your graduate job hunt off until the end of the academic year or you can really miss out on some first rate career paths.

5. Avoiding the question

This is possibly the most important reason to make sure you apply early on. Yes not missing closing deadlines is important, and so is sending some applications off before the work kicks in, but there is nothing worse than going home at Christmas to see family and having to answer that same question to every single member of your extended family. 'So, what are you're going to do after university?', 'Have you got a job lined up for when you graduate?' or variations there on. These can be some of the most painfully depressing questions you will ever have to stumble through answering and will certainly start stoking the sense of panic about graduating. At least if you have sent off a few applications you have ammo with which to respond. Or to look at it another way, you have ammo with which to shut that conversation down with a few well researched points. While it is not vital to have a job offer nailed down by spring time, not many people do, sending off a few applications and scouting out the opportunities and what is available can be a really good way to spend Christmas. If nothing else, knowing what you need to do or seeing where your skills might take you can be quite exciting. We all know by Boxing Day afternoon you will already have remembered why you moved out and went to university.