How to bring your career (or job search) back from hibernation

Is it just me, or does this winter feel endless? All that bundling up makes me want to hibernate for a while and skip any unnecessary social interactions, much less active face-to-face time. And along with wanting to climb under the covers until April, for many people winter meant putting the job hunt on hold until better weather (or a friendlier job climate) arrived.

“If you are getting back out into the job market after some time away or are revving up a stalled career search, there are plenty of quick, actionable tips to get you going,” said Rachel Gauthier Vice President, Practice Partner of The Tolan Group, one of the top national recruiters in the US.

Pay attention

“First things first – this can be a process and my biggest piece of advice is BE POSITIVE and attentive!” Gauthier urges.

It’s tough to remain optimistic when things seem to be taking a while to happen, but it can keep you going in the right direction.

Gauthier thinks you should be open-minded to hearing good advice in unexpected places: “Listen to the well-intended career advice others provide and who knows what amazing opportunities await.”

Do the legwork

Gauthier says it’s a good idea to start with the obvious.

“You have probably already started thinking about who you know in your own network and probably begun the process of reaching out to them. Just a word of advice from an experienced recruiter, if you go out and begin asking those you know and respect for names or introductions, you need to do some leg work first.”

But what exactly does that mean? Gauthier suggests you “look to see who they are connected with (on LinkedIn, etc.) that you feel would be a great connection. Create a little feeder list to help get things rolling.”

And don’t feel down if people draw a blank when you ask for a recommendation out of the blue. As Gauthier explains it “I don’t know about you, but when I am asked who I know that does something specific, my mind tends to go blank … I need time to think.”

To that end, if you start to research and do your own homework, you can get the ball rolling with a gentle nudge in the right direction.

Plant some seeds

Let’s go for the full winter to spring metaphor here and talk about watching your network grow.

As Gauthier puts it, “If you have already done this, make new connections on LinkedIn. Grow your network! You don’t just need to do this on LinkedIn; there are professional networking groups everywhere, check out your local Chamber of Commerce.”

And yeah, you should probably do at least some of it in person. “Go mingle – put yourself out there. Meet others who are doing cool things in your community and let the spider web of networking happen. It can be fun!” she said.

More than that, “It can also be outside of your comfort zone, in which case, Gauthier offers a slightly different approach. She suggests taking one of your connectors along with you and really making things happen. “It can also make the next networking event and the one after that MUCH easier.”

Polish your personal brand

When’s the last time you had a critical look at your LinkedIn profile and your resume?

“Is it current and show who you are and what you are great at!?” Gauthier asks. “A standout LinkedIn profile (which is where most employers go to check you out) and your resume are a great place to start building your personal brand.”

And while you’re at it, “What about your LinkedIn connections? Already tapped this little market?” Try to go outside of your professional comfort zone.

Gauthier advises job searchers to “look at companies that are in your career space and start searching for people within those organizations and send personalized connections to each.”