Did you know that January and February are two of the best months to apply for a new job or promotion?
The statistics confirm: It's true.
December often feels like one of the "sleepiest" months of the year -- full of holidays, lovely food and long, cozy nights.
But as tempting as it may be to hole up with a big mug of cocoa and pine-scented candles, try not to hibernate all month long. Use the next few weeks wisely -- and get a head start on your job hunt!
We've got 20 days left in the month of December. Here are 20 career-boosting actions to complete before the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve...
1. Send a "thank you" note to a colleague, manager or mentor who helped or inspired you, this year.
2. Congratulate someone on their career success, this year. By celebrating others, you'll reinforce that you're a positive, encouraging person -- two qualities that are on every employer's wish list!
4. Reach out to five people you'd like to connect with in 2015 and get a coffee date, walking date, yoga date or dinner party on the calendar.
5. Clean out your inbox and unsubscribe from mailing lists that clutter your inbox (and waste your time).
6. Choose two skills that you're going to focus on improving in 2015. Then, decide how you're going to develop those skills and block out the time on your calendar, right now. (A class... a seminar... a weekly writing group... whatever makes sense for you.)
7. Write down your biggest successes from the past 12 months. Read your list out loud. Practice describing those "big wins" with confidence -- as if you're telling each story to a hiring manager during an interview.
8. Write down your biggest mistakes from the past twelve months -- and what you learned from each one. Read that list out loud, too. (Sooner or later, a job interviewer is going to ask, "What's your greatest weakness?" or "Describe a time when you made a mistake." Prep your answers in advance!)
9. Find a beautiful new template for your résumé. (Here are 275 free templates you can use!)
10. Read these 43 résumé tips that will get you hired. Revamp your résumé accordingly.
11. Contact an expert résumé writer to help you, if you're still feeling totally stuck. (Sometimes, a second pair of eyes can make all the difference.)
12. Learn how to ace the 50 most common job interview questions.
13. Upgrade your professional wardrobe. The old adage, "Dress for the job you want, not the job you have"... is quite true! (Here's some style inspiration for job hunters.)
14. If you work from home, boost your focus by making your office a calmer, quieter space. Cut noise with carpeting, thick curtains or white noise machines.
16. Reorganize your workspace. Remove clutter. Add beauty. Pin your goals or a project manifesto right in front of you, so you see the words, every day. (Need some inspiration? These workspaces are breathtakingly beautiful.)
17. Google yourself and see what comes up. Unflattering photos? Questionable social media content? Snarky blog comments? Put yourself in a recruiter's shoes and make sure your online footprint makes a good impression.
18. Take your LinkedIn presence to the next level by adding a personal note when you send out invitations to join your network. (Not many people do this, which is a missed opportunity!)
19. Read a few career-boosting classics, like Stephen Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and Dale Carnegie's How To Win Friends And Influence People. (Another top pick: It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be. It's one of the world's top-selling books of all time... for a reason!)
20. Be brave and start spreading the word. Reach out to 5 people you trust and tell them you're ready to take your career to the next level. Ask them to keep you in mind and give you a "heads up" if new opportunities cross their path. Check in again in January, after the holiday haze has subsided.
It's been reported that 80 percent of jobs are never posted or advertised publicly.
These kinds of jobs can only be discovered through word-of-mouth connections, personal introductions and referrals.
So by all means: spruce up your résumé, write down your big wins, de-clutter your workspace and dial up your wardrobe.
But more than anything?
Spend the next 20 days re-connecting with people you admire and strengthening the relationships in your professional network.
You never know what one follow-up email, "thank you" note or holiday card can do for your career.
Good luck. Here's to an incredible New Year!
As a clinical psychologist and professional life coach, Dr. Suzanne Gelb's insights have been featured on more than 200 radio shows, 150 TV interviews and in Forbes, Newsweek, The Muse and lots of other places.
Step into her virtual office and discover how to change your life by changing the way you handle your own emotions.
And while you're visiting, if you're wanting to find work that you love -- when you're stuck in a job that you hate & discover and create your ideal career, it's all inside my new Life Guide. Click herehttp://drsuzannegelb.com/life-guides/#work.