Job Searching in the Summer
Tuesday | August 1, 2017 | by Shaunna-Marie Kerr
The recruitment process tends to function on a cycle, and there is usually decreased activity by the third quarter of the year. This can mean fewer new job postings in some industries and a delayed hiring process due to having key decision makers out of the office. As a job seeker, it can be tempting to think of the summer (June, July, and August in the northern hemisphere) as a time to ease up on the job search and relax. By taking a different approach to your job search this summer, you can stand out from the crowd and get ahead of the competition.
Along with warmer weather and longer hours of daylight, most industries experience a “summer slowdown.” This means that many companies may adopt “summer hours” (shorter work hours), more employees tend to go on vacation for an extended period of time, and recurring meetings may be put on hold until all stakeholders are back in the office. If you have tried to connect with someone whose schedule always seems full, then the slower pace in the summer could be the perfect time to reach out. Fewer people in the office might mean your contact will have more free time in their schedule. It may seem counterintuitive, but the summer can be the perfect time to focus on growing your professional network. Offer to meet for lunch on a patio, be more flexible with timing, and suggest meeting in the middle of the week when people are less likely to be taking advantage of a long weekend.
Once the warm weather hits, you may also notice that people are more open to conversation. Use friendly inquiries about your vacation plans to start a dialogue about what you hope to be doing in the fall. For example, when asked about your summer plans, you can let people know that you are learning a new skill or researching a company you are interested in working with.
Look in unexpected places for opportunities to make new connections at community events and be prepared with a brief summary of your professional experience and goals. Even mundane comments about the weather can be used to start a conversation and help you share some stories about your home country and your accomplishments there. For example, if someone comments on the heat and humidity, you could respond by saying something like, “This weather reminds me of Dubai when I used to work there as an accounting coordinator.” Sharing an interesting piece of your personal history will often result in longer conversations with people you meet and potentially open a new avenue for professional opportunities. Even casual settings, such as a community barbeque or a picnic, can help you form a strong network.
Another thing to consider in the summer is how your own travel plans could benefit your job search. The summer can be an excellent time to think about expanding the geographic reach of your professional network. When building your travel itinerary, consider leaving some time aside to have an informational interview with someone you would otherwise not be able to meet in person.
Look at some of the professional groups you joined through online networking sites such as LinkedIn, and see if there is a particular person you would like to connect with. Once you find someone you want to meet, you should send them a message to let them know that you will be in town for a few days and would like the opportunity to discuss their career path, industry, and experience. There is a good chance that you will receive a positive response if you prepare a thoughtful message that conveys genuine interest.
As we mentioned above, many industries and companies may run at a slower pace in the summer with fewer job listings and delayed hiring decisions. Although this can seem discouraging at first, it is important to remain active on job boards such as LinkedIn, Monster, and Indeed. Because summer tends to be a slower time for posting new roles, any existing postings with closing dates in the summer would have a high priority to be filled. With fewer job postings, recruiters and HR professionals have more time to look at each application they receive. This is especially true in cases where you may be required to fulfill additional requirements such as obtaining a credential evaluation or completing a skills assessment test.
You may also notice more contract, short-term, or contract-to-hire positions on job boards during the summer. Do not overlook these postings even if your end goal is to obtain a full-time position. Many companies will have these kinds of positions to cover an employee’s vacation time, but getting your foot in the door is an opportunity to prove the value of your skills and expertise to an organization.
After spending time to train and incorporate contract employees into their workflows, most employers are happy to find a more permanent position for quality workers. Even without the guarantee of conversion to a full-time role, temporary positions and freelance work can add valuable experience to your résumé while also increasing your professional network. If the company does not have the resources to convert your contract after coverage is no longer required, you can still get a great reference letter and ask to be kept in mind for future opportunities.
The months between June and August are a prime time to focus on your job search. Although many people use this time to relax before the increase in hiring campaigns in fall, the job market does not truly sleep. Increase your networking efforts and engagement with job boards to speed up your journey to career success during the “summer slowdown.”