For those of you dealing with cold, or even arctic temperatures, the winter months can be particularly challenging for job search. Just as you winterize your car and experts advise packing an emergency winter weather kit when you travel, you can also prepare your job search for the next several winter months.
Consider these tips to avoid stalling out on your job search plans.
Bring your networking inside.
Who wants to trek outside to networking events in the dead of winter, when it’s dark before dinner? It’s tough to get motivated to attend glad-handing events when you’re not sure the roads will be passable on your way home. Instead, use the cold winter months to ramp up your social networking, which you can comfortably do from your favorite, cushy chair at home.
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Don’t underestimate the value of contacts you make online. All you need to do is impress one person who is inspired to refer you for an opportunity, and you could land a job that was never advertised.
How can you get started using social media to job hunt? Begin by updating your LinkedIn profile. Avoid common LinkedIn mistakes and be sure to fill in everything on your profile. Once you perfect LinkedIn, branch out and create a Twitter profile. Twitter is useful for job seekers because it makes it easy to connect with anyone else who tweets. (Connect with me on Twitter right now!)
You’ll find companies use Twitter to let people know what they are doing and CEOs often use Twitter to share their thoughts. More importantly, though, regular people just like you turn to Twitter to expand their networks and meet new people. Try it and you may be surprised by how easy it can be to connect with an influential contact.
Get out of the house.
You need to go to the grocery store, anyway, so think about how you can make it a networking opportunity. Be friendly and talk to people in line, or even the manager of the store. Build relationships with people who recognize you and may be willing to help you with a contact in the future. However, don’t start off the conversation with “Hello, I’m looking for work.” Instead, just be amiable. Ask about the other person – learn something personal that you will remember to ask about later. You’d be surprised by how much more likely someone is to go out of his or her way for you when you are a good listener and follow up on casual conversations.
Consider everywhere you go and anyone to meet an opportunity to network. Especially in the dead of winter, you want to make the most of any time you don your woolly headgear and boots and dig yourself out of your driveway. Make it worth your while.
Set up shop somewhere new.
A few times a week, take your computer to a coffee shop or the bookstore. Anywhere you can access wifi and have the chance to smile at people will be better than staying in your quiet house all week long. Try not to be the annoying, overly chatty person who talks to people when they are trying to get their work done, but if you do see the same people over and over again, it can’t hurt to strike up a short, informal conversation that could lead to talking about networking contacts in the future.
Work on cold calls.
Hopefully, your social networking has helped warm up some potential cold calls. The dead of winter is a great time to ramp up your cold calls, as people may be more likely to spend more time at their desks. Research and plan ahead so you’ll know what to say when you do get a response to your call.
Use all the resources at your disposal — and make the most of all of them, and winter could just be your lucky season for job search.
This post originally ran on AOLJobs.