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You’ve made it.  It’s officially March.  You’ve been waiting months for the cold weather to move on, and the possibility of warmer weather is starting to become a reality.  But, your patience for freezing temperatures is dropping every day.

Similarly, you made it through the long stretch of the holiday season when hiring slows down, as recruiters and companies focus on their families, and wait for the New Year.  Job postings are starting to pick up.  You’ve been unhappy at your job for a while, and you’re ready to move on.

There’s just one problem: your bonus.  Whether your annual performance payout for 2013 was 5% or 50% of your salary, the thought of walking away from it now is just not an option.

For many folks, this leaves them feeling trapped and at a dead end.  Going to work each day can feel frustrating and mind numbing.  You want to start searching, but you’re not really free to move on just yet.  What can you do?

Below are five tips to prepare you for your next job while you’re waiting for your bonus payout.

  1. Clean up your resume – While you still have access to your current job’s performance data, start updating your resume.  Include your accomplishments, especially goals you’ve met or exceeded, and any awards you’ve won.  Quantify these achievements with numbers, to give a better understanding of the scope of your responsibilities.
  2. Update your LinkedIn – Ensure that your latest accomplishments are also reflected on LinkedIn.  Review your connections to see who else from your network you can add.  Ask trusted contacts to leave written recommendations for your previous work.  But, be prepared for your current colleagues to question why you’ve been updating LinkedIn lately.  A simple, “I’m always keeping LinkedIn up to date” usually does the trick.
  3. Go shopping – When was the last time you had to wear a nice suit to work?  If it’s been a while, there’s a chance your old suit is too big, too small, or outdated.  Stop by a department store when there are sales (and no pressure on you to get a suit quickly). When you do find one, consider taking it to a tailor.  Ensuring your pants are hemmed to the correct length and your jacket fits properly can make your relatively inexpensive suit look like ‘a million bucks.’
  4. Get business cards – Especially if you don’t have a business card at work, this is a great time to get them.  The same advice goes for those who are looking to dramatically change career paths.  A business card not connected to your current career is helpful.  At a minimum, include your name, phone number, and e-mail address.  You can order them online from many sites like, or in person at an office store like FedEx.  They typically cost less than $50, and can really make the difference when you’re meeting someone new.
  5. Attend networking events – The number one way to find a new job is networking.  If you’ve been at your current job for more than a few years, you may be a little disconnected from your old network.  Now’s the time to get out, see your old connections, and pass out your new business cards.

Whatever you do, remember that you’re not alone.  Many folks are in the same boat with you, waiting for the storm to pass.  Following these steps will prepare you to find a job when you finally get that 2013 bonus payout.  Brighter skies are on their way, so take advantage of this time and prepare yourself.

I hope these tips have helped you.  Visit to find more tips to improve your job search.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland


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