The holidays are nearly upon us. It is a time of goodwill, new beginnings and kindness. For the modern job seeker, many just put off their resumes and job searching till the first of the year. People are natural procrastinators in that respect. After all, there are not a lot of job postings or hiring going on this time of year. Everyone seems to have other things on their mind compared to a boring old resume or keeping up with their networks.

This only makes things worse for you later on.  After all, we can all learn from Scrooge that if “nothing changes, then nothing changes.”  With that in mind, what do the three Holiday Spirits – Past, Present, and Future – have to teach us about the job search?

The past: foundation to a good outcome

I like to think of the resume as a representation of the past. It is quite literally a timeline of your past achievements, where you came from, and the skills you have acquired in your professional history. If your past is jumbled and unclear, your resume can feel like a looming spirit of past transgressions and culminate into a vicious cycle of infrequent interviews and even fewer job offers.

Take the time this season to explore your past and bring it to light in a positive way. Demonstrate yourself to be a viable candidate for the job you are going after with a history that shows the skills and talents employers are seeking.

The present: networking and meaningful connections

A healthy network is key in the modern era of job searching. Is your LinkedIn profile up-to-date and written in a compelling way? If not, we always recommend getting with it. HR departments will be looking you up on LinkedIn, making your professional social media presence more important than ever before. More importantly, LinkedIn is a great way to connect with people in your industry or with companies you would like to work for. A strong network will get you more attention from companies and the hiring managers within them.

If your network is not as established yet, you deal with another malignant ghost haunting your holidays. It often feels as if you don’t know the right people, or you can’t get the recommendations, or you are simply out of the loop.

While building the network, don’t forget to take some time with your network over the holidays, even if it is sending out a simple season’s greetings and wishing them well. One of Scrooge’s biggest mistakes was to not value his current employee, skipping over the personal connection that actually creates a positive work culture.  It took a ghost to show him Tiny Tim’s plight, even though he employed his father for years.  Be sure to reach out to your connections to show that you care.  A little kindness for your network will get you far once the holidays are over.

The future: building an effective strategy

The future looms over us all in this life and is often a source of anxiety and stress, especially for those of us out there looking for a new job. As far as most are concerned, the future and planning for it stops at decided what job their target job is. However, it takes real work to set up action steps to achieve that new position.  Without a clear strategy, life actually continues on the same path – and for Scrooge, that was foretold as a lonely and grim future.

To become a master of your own destiny, start forming a real job search plan and proactive, effective strategy. Ask yourself the following:

  • What is my target job?
  • Who are my potential employers?
  • Where are they advertising their positions?
  • What is their own presences on LinkedIn or other social media sites?
  • Do I have connections at these companies already?
  • Who should I be contacting and how do I track down their contact information?
  • When will I schedule time for my job search?
  • How will I track the results of my applications and interviews?
  • Who are my best advocates within my network?

Once you answer these questions for yourself, you will have a clearer idea of how to start your job search. If you aren’t clear about how to implement every aspect of your search, consider checking out additional resources, such as books, thought leaders, or even coaches to get you moving forward.

Taking charge of your fate

Like Scrooge, we can’t avoid the ultimate fate that waits at the end of our lives.  However, we can choose how we shall live, and that includes the opportunity to work at a job that we truly enjoy.  The important thing is to establish some realistic goals, fine tune your resume, and build a network that will help you reach it. From there, you become a better architect for your future and take it from the hands of fate.

Don’t put things off till after the holidays. Take the time now to build a great resume that highlights your glowing reputation, establish a strong and meaningful connection with the people in your network, and work out an effective set of goals to put yourself ahead of the other job seekers this winter. Happy holidays!