A new year often starts off with major fireworks displays. Your job search might not launch quite that spectacularly. But maybe it doesn’t need to, if you do it right.
Here’s something to think about: “Every man should know how to jump start a dead car battery. You never know when you’ll need this knowledge to...help yourself get out of a jam.” (Brett, ArtOfManliness.com, 2016)
What’s that got to do with jump-starting your job search?
Job search plans (which are sometimes only intentions) can all too easily stall and end up going nowhere. If you don’t know how to get your job search going again (or starting in the first place), you need to find out—and maybe fast, if you’re facing a deadline.
Take a Flying Leap Now
If you’re under the gun—such as an approaching layoff date—you don’t have the leisure of a lackadaisical job search. You need to be quick off the mark and build momentum as rapidly as possible. Don’t wait for someone to hold a tempting carrot under your nose. That takes precious time and might not produce results soon enough.
Even if a holiday period is approaching, avoid assuming you can coast until it’s over. A year has many holidays—weekends and longer. It doesn’t do any good to tell yourself that employers won’t be looking for people around Thanksgiving or Christmas or…whenever. Taking a short time-out is fine; indulging in a drawn-out “vacation” from job searching is not.
Light a fire under yourself! Decide what you need and want your job search to accomplish. Identify the actions you can take sooner rather than later—and do them. At worst, you’ll at least have accomplished something worthwhile. At best, you’ll put yourself at the head of the pack…the frontrunner. Any advantage you can legitimately gain over your competition is so much to the good.
Devise a Two-Part Job Search Plan
One of the easiest and yet still effective methods to jump-start your job search for the new year involves breaking it into two stages:
- Planning and preliminary action—possibly including some passive methods.
- Full-bore job searching—active, not just passive; definitely including active networking.
If you hold a responsible management position, you might or might not have extra time at the close of the year, but it’s wise to take advantage of whatever time you can reasonably set aside for your preliminary job search activity. That should give you at least a small edge on your competition when the new year arrives. What can you do during this time to be as productive as possible? For example:
- Review all your career marketing materials: resume, master cover letter, LinkedIn profile, executive bio—whatever you have and/or need in your job search toolkit. If any of these aren’t in top shape now, take care of that ASAP.
- Assemble a prioritized list of contacts/connections you’d like to tap into for advice, recommendations, possible opportunities, etc. If you already have a list, refresh it; make sure it’s up to date.
- Consider touching base by note or email over the holiday period with people who are at the top of your list, even if all you send is the “hi, hope all is well and you’re looking forward to a great new year” variety. If you actually get a response, make sure to acknowledge it.
- Rough out a timeline for the active job search itself. Obviously you won’t know all the events that could come up, but if you block out what you do know and can plan on, you’ll have a good start. You can fine-tune it as you go along.
Once you’re confident you’ve laid the groundwork as effectively as you can, relax and enjoy the holidays. The new year—with all its reenergized activity—will arrive soon enough!