With Memorial Day behind us, we all make summer plans–and for many that means putting a job search on hold. If you’re returning to the workforce after many years on hiatus you may be thinking, “What’s one more summer without work?” And if you’re a current professional who has been pounding the pavement for many months, you may just want to put your head out of the job market and into the sun.
In either case, summer is a key time to keep your job search moving. Though it is vacation season, your optimal networking and recruiter connections are not out of the office for three months. July tends to be the slowest recruiting month, with hiring picking up in late August. There is a tremendous amount of recruiter search activity in the early fall (before Thanksgiving), so you want to have all your ducks in a row before the summer winds down.
In between trips to the beach, here are 10 things you can do to be well positioned for the fall hiring season:
- Make Friday your target connection day. Just about everyone slides into relaxation mode on summer Fridays. It’s a good time to reach people who might otherwise decide they’re too busy to take your call or respond to your email. Time your communications for Friday morning…before many people take off to start their weekends early.
- Strategize about the interviews you’d like to have lined up by Labor Day. Review your key industry and company targets, and during the summer months find every way that you can to connect with people who can get you in the door.
- Veer off the job boards and onto social media. Job boards are the job seeker’s black hole–where only 15% of jobs are found. Recruiters are always trolling Linkedin and Twitter. Make sure you follow companies that interest you on these sites–and Facebook, too. It’s easy to engage in conversations that showcase your expertise and make you visible to company leaders–while you’re watching your children swim at the pool.
- Dive deeper into Linkedin. To get the maximum value from Linkedin aim for a minimum of 500 connections. This will give you a large pool of interconnected people in multiple industries who can lead you to just about every company of interest. As you break out of your usual routine in the summer months, always be on the lookout for people you can invite to connect.
- Shine the bright sunlight on your resume and Linkedin profile. Make sure it’s clear who you are as a professional and highlight the skills and experience that line up with your desired jobs. Create a powerful summary statement for the top of your resume and a searchable headline for your Linkedin profile. To make yourself stand out from other candidates, tell an interesting (“first person” voice) story in your Linkedin summary about your career path, accomplishments and professional style.
- Widen your social circles. Summer is a great entertaining time…plan a few easy and informal gatherings that bring you closer to friends and acquaintances who can help you meet other professionals.
- Create a job search tribe. Find fellow job seeking “buddies” to keep a focus on your job search while it seems like the rest of the world is playing tennis and golf. Meet for coffee once a week to get a different perspective on your job search, make sure you haven’t overlooked practical search strategies and and get you through job search ups and downs.
- Scope out organizations you’d like to join. Fall (what I call “the second new year”) is a great time to become involved with industry associations, professional networking groups and community organizations that intersect in some way with your job search or bring you in contact with a diverse group of professionals. Since you have limited time for these extracurricular activities, use the summer months to explore organizations that would be the biggest bang for your buck.
- Turn part of your down time into “me time”. Throughout the year, women run in 100 directions for everyone else–employers, volunteer organizations, children and households. In the summer months carve out time that you can be alone and just think quietly about what you want to do, who you need to meet and how you’re going to meet your job search goals.
- Get outdoors and boost your “Vitamin C” for Confidence. A job search of any length can sap a person’s feelings of self worth. Get out of your own head, capitalize on the warm weather and exercise every day. While you’re biking, running, walking or swimming, you’ll be exercising your job search muscles, too. —KAS
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Tags: back to work Mom, career, job search, recruitment cycles, resume, resume gap, summer job search, women