What’s different about looking for a job in the summer? In many respects, nothing is different – you still need a clear message, an overall strategy, and a structured plan to move your career to the next level. But it’s not just the summer heat that slows things down. Vacations and long weekends can cause hiring to stall because critical decision-makers are out of the office and remaining staff can be overloaded with higher priorities.
So whether you’re in the midst of a heat wave or – in the Southern Hemisphere – planning ahead for your summertime search, these tips will keep you moving forward in spite of the weather.
1. Understand Timelines and Processes. At the conclusion of every meeting and every interview, reiterate your understanding of when the next steps will take place. For example:
- Networking Meeting: “So, John, I’ll look for your email next week with your contacts at XYZ Corp. If I don’t hear from you by Friday, shall I give you a nudge?”
- Interview: “My understanding, then, is that you hope to complete the first round of interviews by the 15th. I’m very interested in the position and certainly hope to have the opportunity to speak with the rest of the interview team. May I contact you on the 16th if I haven’t heard anything?”
- Recruiter Contact: “I understand that your meeting with the hiring company is on Monday and that you’ll be presenting your slate of candidates. Should I call you on Tuesday to discuss the next steps?”
By using this approach, you’ll appear organized and professional and you’ll avoid the dilemma of when and how often you should follow up.
2. Don’t Let the Heat Slow You Down. Even if you can’t get meetings with (vacationing) hiring authorities, that doesn’t mean you should slack off on your job search until the fall. You can identify target companies, do company and industry research, work on your interview stories, polish your resume/CV, enrich your online image, master a new skill or technology (e.g., become an expert on Google+ or start a LinkedIn group), write and publish a white paper or authoritative book review, update your references, organize your network contacts, and so much more.
3. Strike While the Weather is Hot. Sure, some people are on vacation, but everyone is not. As you uncover leads and opportunities, act quickly. Suggest an immediate meeting, respond quickly to all calls and emails, and position yourself as the solution to a business problem. Sometimes simply being available will give you an advantage over other candidates.
4. Combine Business with Pleasure. If you yourself are vacationing, try to set up meetings in that area to expand your network and keep your search moving forward. And stay on top of email and voicemail messages while you’re vacationing. If your job search is a top priority (as it should be), don’t plan on being out of touch for extended periods.
5. Enjoy the Summer! Yes, your job search is important, but so is your family and your overall health and well-being. Those of us who live in cold climates must cherish our amazing but short summers! Don’t become so stressed during your job search that you can’t enjoy activities with friends and family. Get outside, have fun, and be refreshed.
I live in the Boston area, where summer is short but oh-so-sweet. Yes, people everywhere are taking time off from work. But business does not grind to a halt, and you can find and seize opportunities during the vacation season.