It's late fall/early winter. Suddenly you begin to put the hints and signals together. That promotion is most likely going to one of your colleagues, not you. After you rehash what is probably going to happen and why, you decide that it's time to move on. A change of scenery and new challenges will do you a world of good, right? Absolutely.
Then it dawns on you that your curriculum vitae is out of date. You haven't revised your resume in years. Sadly you realize that your resume and all your other job-searching skills are so, well, 2008. Not to worry. Here are some strategies for 2012's very competitive job market.
Get involved. Stay involved.
Hopefully when you arrived at St. Swithin's five years ago, you decided to get involved. I'm not talking about involvement at school. That's expected. I am endorsing your involvement in local community activities. Belonging to a service club or singing in the local choral society, for example, gets you out meeting people. Did you attend any workshops offered by your state independent school association? Better yet, did you help organize a workshop? What about those regional, state or national conferences in your subject area? Yes, it requires time and effort and no small expense to attend conventions. But you need to get your brand out where people can see it and experience it.
Getting involved unfortunately is not a quick fix to your immediate situation. But at the very least begin to take steps wherever and whenever you can to get more involved professionally. The wider you cast your net, the better the results.
Five years ago Facebook was around. So was Twitter. But you probably thought they were for hard core social networking addicts. Since then Facebook and Twitter have empowered people everywhere in the world. The Arab Spring, for example, would have never gotten the traction it did without social media.
Facebook has groups. Find one which appeals to your professional interests. A professional level of discourse, information and research just like you'd expect to find at a conference is what you should hope to find and maintain within a Facebook group. If there is not a Facebook group which meets your professional requirements, create one and invite other like-minded people to join.
Be careful to set a polite, inoffensive tone on your personal Facebook page. You never know which trusted friend or family member might decide to share your posts and pictures. Assume that anything electronic can and will be shared. Facebook posts, tweets, texts, emails - the lot.
Social media is the new meeting place. It's easy to use. It has enormous reach. It isn't expensive. Now, nobody's expecting you to post three or four times a day. That's not necessary. Be strategic with your posts. Post something worthwhile. Imagine that a friend is sitting across the table from you and you are telling her about some exciting new research you just discovered. Or a great new book. Whatever it is that you feel professionally worthwhile is the stuff you share on Facebook.
What about Twitter? You have to remember that the 140 character limit makes your tweets short. Like the tweets or bursts of information they are and were designed to be. Tweets are great for congratulating your colleagues on achievements, noting special occasions and so on.
LinkedIn? It's social media for business and professional people. And it's enjoying rapid acceptance because it filters out much of the static which Facebook and Twitter are famous for. LinkedIn members are there to talk about their achievements in their professional lives and careers. Many private schools have their own groups on LinkedIn. Take advantage of those. You will know somebody who can invite you to join.
Being connected is a critical part of your job search and career advancement. Ignore it at your own peril.
Update your curriculum vitae and your resume.
You have your curriculum vitae and resume on your computer anyway. Once a year or more frequently if necessary add new entries to your curriculum vitae. Your CV is a chronological record of everything you do professionally. When you add events, honors and all those other professional achievements as they occur, it's easier to keep track of them.
Your resume will probably remain fairly static. Resumes need current employment and academic information, of course, but resumes should be customized for a specific job opening. Resumes are not one-size-fits-all documents.
An up to date approach to job searching just makes good sense in 2012. It will help you get the exposure you need in order to compete effectively for whatever job openings are out there. Unfortunately the suggestions laid out above all need to be implemented and embraced. If you use a cafeteria approach and merely select the points you like or are comfortable with, you will probably not have the success you are looking for.