During a sports game, no matter how a team is faring, its players rely on their coach to share a plan for winning the game. The same is true when it comes to your job search. Whether you've been making progress or you're in a rut, it's up to you -- the coach -- to determine your next move.
At this point in the year, you have two options in your playbook: ramp up your job search or take time off until 2013. Both moves have their payoffs, but only you know what's right for Team You.
2012 game plan
If you're not ready to call a timeout just yet, choose from several power plays that'll help you make progress throughout the rest of the year.
CareerBuilder's midyear job forecast surveyed more than 2,000 hiring managers and human-resource professionals across industries and company sizes about hiring plans for the latter half of 2012. According to the forecast, businesses are planning to hire in a number of functional areas, so they may be good positions to focus on during your search. These areas include:
-- Customer service
-- Information technology
-- Business development
You may also want to research newly created positions within companies. According to the forecast, jobs that didn't exist five years ago are now growing to meet new technology demands, including positions tied to:
-- Social media
-- Storing and managing data
-- Financial regulation
-- Promoting diversity inside and outside the organization
-- "Green" energy and the environment
-- Global relations
2013 game plan
If you want to take the rest of the year off, use the time wisely. Prepare yourself for a quick start in 2013. Here are ways to fill your time productively until the new year begins:
-- Seasonal work: Companies that hire temporary workers for the upcoming holiday season begin looking for those employees as early as October. You can gain work experience, references and a paycheck with seasonal work. Also, seasonal positions can sometimes lead to permanent jobs.
-- Volunteer: Volunteering is a great way to gain experience, fill a résumé gap and meet others in your field.
-- Network: Attend industry or general networking events, or try online networking through social-media sites such as LinkedIn. Let your family and friends know what kind of position you're interested in, and connect with others who have similar interests.
-- Workshops, training or more education: There may not be enough time left in the year to earn a degree, but you can participate in short-term workshops or training programs: This is another way to avoid résumé gaps, and it also shows potential employers that you've stayed up-to-date on industry advancements.
-- Revamp your résumé: If you've been keeping yourself busy during the back half of the year, you'll have plenty of new material to include on your résumé. Add new roles, remove outdated activities and be sure to create a customized résumé for each position.