Congratulations, you’ve made it to mid-January. The holidays are behind you and you’re only 63 days away from the first day of spring!
But if you’re like many of us (and especially if you live in an area of the country that gets a lot of cold, ice and snow) the days seem longer than ever, and the winter season just seems to drag on and on. And maybe you are like more than 3 million people in this country who suffer from winter depression, triggered by the darkness and the cold. Let’s face it, during January, February, March and even part of April, many of us would rather be soaking up the rays on a tropical beach than shoveling snow or navigating icy roads.
So, what to do if you’re in the clutches of the Winter Solstice? If fleeing to a warmer climate is simply not an option, it’s time to “flip the script” on those dark and never-ending days. Whilst watching it ice and snow, it’s time to ask yourself, “Where can I make an improvement in my career or professional circle?” We’re all a work in progress. Why not use this time of hibernation to your advantage? So, when spring arrives you are ready to face the season of rebirth with a renewed sense of vigor and purpose.
Although it seems counter intuitive, the winter months are a great time to network and focus on your career. January and February are the best months of the year to look for a new job. And there’s no better way to find a job than to network with a recruiter, friend, acquaintance or business associate. According to a recent LinkedIn survey, 85% of all jobs are filled via networking. Ever wonder why? It turns out that companies prefer to hire people who are referred because the candidates come pre-vetted and because they cost less to find. It’s the same reason(s) companies such as CPI are so successful. Whether you find an employment opportunity via your personal or business network, or if you use a technical solutions/recruitment company, you have cleared one of the largest hurdles when finding a job; getting a business professional/company to vouch for you.
Professional Tip: If you employ a recruiter or if you tap your network, don’t forget to say thank you by way of the U.S. Postal Service. Everyone appreciates receiving a hand written thank you note and you’ll look like the rock star you are!
So, what if you don’t have much of a network? Now’s the time to get one. As adults, we must work a bit harder than your average 20 something to make new friends and acquaintances. And if we are already employed, we tend to create a small circle at work and stay within that safety zone as well. The only way to expand your horizons is by expanding your relationships and increasing the number of people who you actually know. Look at each new person as an opportunity to learn, grow and connect. And above all, be that person who is willing to help. The surest way to be remembered is to give of your time, talents and connections freely. Not only will you feel good about helping someone else, but you will be remembered as that person who did something with absolutely zero expectations required. In short, you will stand out. So if there comes a day when you need to look for a new job, you can take comfort in knowing that you’ve built a genuine and sustainable network, which you can call on.
It’s no surprise that many of us would prefer to hibernate in this terminally cold and dark weather. While no one will blame you, why not break out and shake things up. Volunteer, take a class, visit a new neighborhood or try a new sport. Challenge yourself to make a new connection and cast yourself as the latest winter wonder.