It doesn’t matter how old you are, everyone still operates according to the school calendar. We are conditioned to put our noses to the grindstone from September until May, and then take a physical and mental vacation during the summer months. We can’t wait to sit on the beach, roast marshmallows, or travel to visit with friends and family. Summer is traditionally a time to sleep late and be lazy. Unfortunately, it is also a time filled with excuses and distractions for otherwise very motivated job seekers.
The kids are home from school, the sunshine is beckoning you outside, and neglected household projects are calling your name, but just because it’s the summer doesn’t mean it’s time to abandon your job search. It is true and can be very frustrating that hiring managers take longer to make decisions, interviews take weeks to schedule, and phone calls take forever to return. However, it’s still not an excuse to put your job search on hold until September.
If you take a full vacation from your job search in the dog days of summer, it could add months to your job search in the fall. Not only do your interviewing skills get rusty, but your network starts to diminish and you lose touch with current hiring trends in your industry.
Because many job seekers give in to the endless temptations that summer offers, your competition is a lot less than usual. This is not the time to take a vacation. This is the time to keep your job search moving forward and use summer to your advantage while your competition burns in the hot sun.
Here are the 5 Tips for a Successful Summertime Job Search.
Summer’s fun activities will tempt you and complete deprivation is not an option. You can have it all, but organization and prioritization is critical. While you’re traveling, take your computer or tablet and dedicate time to researching companies and industry trends. Stay committed to your job search activities and then you can reward yourself with a long bike ride or a concert in the park.
Remember that cleaning out the garage or landscaping your front yard does not take precedent over finding job opportunities and sending out resumes. If you take care of your job search responsibilities first, there will be plenty of time to make home improvements.
Networking is the most successful job search strategy with a 75-80% success rate. The quality connections and conversations that you worked so hard to generate cannot be neglected in the summer. Continue to attend professional association meetings, career fairs, and volunteer activities. Your phone calls and emails may not be returned as quickly, but it’s important to stay engaged and in front of decision-makers.
Expand Your Network.
Summer is the perfect time to make new connections and grow your network. Whether you attend a graduation party, a family reunion, or a bar-b-que, the social activities that take place every summer are a great way to meet new friends and reconnect with old ones. Think about these activities the same way you do about a professional event. It’s an ideal opportunity to promote yourself, build your network, and find the resources that can help you find a job.
Practice Your Pitch.
Whether it’s networking or interviewing, self-promotion skills need to be practiced on a regular basis. Think of these skills as a muscle that needs constant training in order to be successful. After working on your Elevator Pitch and interviewing answers for so long, there is a tendency to take a break over the summer. This could cause a major setback in your job search, because you lose your edge and get out of job search shape.
Just like an Olympic athlete who trains every day for an event that only happens every 4 years, there is no “off-season” for a committed job seeker. By practicing your pitch over the summer, you will have an advantage over your competition when it comes time to interview for a job.
People naturally take vacations during the summer, and companies often hire more temporary, part-time, or contract workers to fill the voids and handle the extra workload left by vacationing employees. Not only are there more of these positions, but there is also a lot less competition to fill them. If you haven’t considered temporary work or a contract assignment before, the summer is a great time to do so. Remember that many part-time positions turn into full-time careers.
Summer is officially here, and it’s time to break out the sunscreen, plant a garden, and read a good book. However, it’s not time to take a break from your job search. You can enjoy a wonderful summer with family and friends while you continue to research companies, identify opportunities, grow your network, send out resumes, and interview for jobs. This way, when children are headed back to school in September, you’ll be headed to work with a new, exciting job.