For many would-be workers, stopping the formal job search is not so much an act of surrender, but of changing gears. If you are discouraged, and want to be working, it may be time to change your perspective, too. Taking time to reorganize, retool and reconnect will put you in position to accept new opportunities when the job market opens for business again soon.
Reorganizing physically and emotionally is critical to career success. Move away from any bitterness you have about your situation and try to look objectively at where you have been and where you want to go. Create a resume specific to the industry you are most interested in and direct the bulk of your efforts to that industry: its companies, its people, its conferences, its professional organizations.
Retool if you have to. If you’re not sure, then you have to. Gaining new skills and polishing old ones is going to be a basic characteristic of career management in coming years. Can you name ten things in your work that are different now than they were when you first started working? (Remember thermal paper for fax machines? Remember floppy disks?) Ten years from now, technology and techniques will have forged ahead even further. Make self-development part of your routine.
Reconnect with colleagues, classmates, neighbors and friends from your past lives. People who know you were a good worker back then may be willing to pass on a job lead or even hire you now and, with everyone in America showing up on Facebook and LinkedIn, reconnecting is easier than ever.
Don’t wait until the jobs are there to get back to work. Reorganizing, retooling and reconnecting gives you plenty to work on now.