As you start thinking about your job search in 2016, what’s the one thing that can set 2016 apart for job seekers?

What can enliven a stuck job search, put a spring in your step and help lead the way to a new job?

The one thing you need for your job search in 2016:  Connection.

Note that I didn’t say “connections” – I don’t mean that you need to have this whole contact list of people that you’ve nurtured for years- although that would be handy if you did.  Some people throw up their hands at networking, saying they don’t come from a family with “connections” and so they shouldn’t even try.  (Nonsense, but that’s beside the point.)

I mean real, deep connection with people and with ideas.  I mean connection that makes you feel a ‘spark’ and feel alive again, even if you’re in a rut (or especially if you’re in a rut).  That could be a cup of coffee with a friend, or a hike with a relative, or a call with a former colleague who used to make you laugh so hard your cube-mates would roll their eyes.  This means reaching out and making time for people you like, even if your life is busy or their life is busy.   We crave connection, but we’re so busy being busy that we don’t make the time to really feel connected to the people who care about us, beyond a few “likes” here and there.

Could those meet-ups turn into job leads?  Possibly.  But more likely, those people give you a sounding board to process your search, think differently about the future, and celebrate the small wins along the way.  Without that confidence, you are at the mercy of the twists and turns of your search, not having a strong enough platform to stand upon when things get rough.

connecting ideas job search 2016As for ‘connection to ideas’ – what have you been learning these days?  What are you inspired by?  If the answer is “nothing much,” it’s time to get focused on themes and topics that get those creative juices flowing.  On my end, I’ve been watching some videos about topics that fascinate me, and every time I finish one, I feel rejuvenated by new ideas and possibilities.  If you don’t know where to start, try finding TED talks that relate to your profession.   And try connecting new ideas, yourself.  Come up with a “point of view” about what’s happening in your industry.  You never know- you may find yourself in a cool conversation that leads to a hiring manager at some point.

In this age of instant digital “connection” with 2-second interactions, we’re missing the main point.  We need to go deeper to find true connection if we want to make true change.  If you deeply connect with actual, live people, and actively connect with topics that inspire you, you’ll find more fulfillment and success in 2016.