'Tis the Season

We're off! We've just left the starting gate of this holiday season, there are four weeks until the New Year's finish line, and maybe even another 2-4 weeks beyond that before hiring cranks back up to our current 'normal' rate. But this doesn't mean your job search has to bolt.

Now -- winter break -- is actually the perfect time to do a little housekeeping that you have probably not been able to get to while treating your job search as your full time job. Here are some suggestions.

Update your resume. During your job search you've spoken with dozens of recruiters who have given you their expert opinion about how your experiences and skills should be displayed to best attract favorable attention from hiring managers. You may have received examples of resumes which have been successful for your recruiter. You may have even agreed with the suggestions, in theory, at the time, but didn't have adequate time to work on your resume. Now you have that time.

Update your online profiles. Once your resume is current, revisit your profiles online -- resume repositories, corporate sites, all of them. Upload your shiny new resume, ensure your profile includes the skills you want to highlight for potential employers. Ensure your canned searches are targeting the types of positions you're interested in. An updated profile resets the timestamp, giving your resume greater potential for being found in a search.

Enhance your LinkedIn profile. Include a robust and creative description of (a minimum of) the last 15 years of your career experience. Connect with everyone you've ever ridden an elevator with. Write glowing recommendations for connections -- chances are many of them will reciprocate. Join groups -- alumni groups, business focus groups, etc. -- and search these groups for connections you may have missed. Let your connections know that you're looking for your next assignment.

Network. Networking is hands down the most effective way to find your next assignment. Your connections who are currently working can be a wealth of information about opportunities and a conduit directly to hiring managers. And it's been my experience that these days connections are open to helping friends. Work these valuable connections!

Learn to fully exploit tools available to you. Various job search engines have functionality to run automated queries against multiple databases and deliver the results directly to your inbox. Work smart, not hard. Take this time to implement process improvements to make your job search more efficient.

Start fresh. Take the last week of the year off from your search -- a real vacation -- and start the new year with a newly stated goal and a new attitude about the search -- Career Search Resolutions. Revamp your daily routine, get dressed and have breakfast, work out. Work your LinkedIn, work your connections, and read online tips to add life to your efforts.

Good luck!