People assume that summer is an awful time to be job hunting. It’s certainly true that, in many industries, the pace of recruiting tends to slow down. After all, everyone wants to enjoy the sunny weather and plan their holidays.
But, it’s a bit of a myth that hiring stops completely as soon as the sun comes out. Recruiters and hiring managers don’t have the luxury of taking the whole summer off. If they have an opening, they want to fill it and they will certainly be gearing up for the autumn as this is one of the busiest hiring seasons.
Here are my three tips for keeping your job hunt momentum going, despite the heat. And – crucially – getting that all-important head start on those candidates who are spending their summer lounging in the sun.
Take advantage of the reduced competition
If everyone else assumes it’s an awful time to be job hunting, you’ll have less people throwing their hats (or CVs) into the ring. This is a great opportunity for you to stand out. Make sure your CV is up to date and tailored to make the most of any exciting roles you see advertised.
This is also not the time to neglect your LinkedIn profile. As hiring managers tend to be less busy, they have more time and attention to give to extending their network. So, August is the perfect time to refresh your profile, add some personality and make new connections.
Be patient but determined
Hiring doesn’t stop, but it certainly slows down as people go on holiday. Scheduling interviews and co-ordinating between departments is harder. If there are three decision makers for the hire and each has a different holiday, the process could be extended by several weeks – so don’t despair if you don’t hear back immediately.
Even better, confirm exactly what the timescales and next steps are and when you go to your interview. Even if it’s an informal networking meeting, ask about timings. If you know that person is taking three weeks off in August or works part-time throughout the school holidays, it saves the frustration, worry and self-doubt that creeps in when you don’t hear back.
Endless out-of-office emails can be frustrating, but be patient. You should still try to keep in touch and follow up after meetings. Many people don’t bother, so you’ll stand out if you make the effort.
Step up your networking
As the work pace slows, networking opportunities rise. People tend to be less busy and in a good mood with the sun shining. And, they’re often looking for any excuse to get out of the office.
According to LinkedIn, 85% of jobs are filled by networking. If you’ve been struggling to pin someone down for an informational meeting or even just an informal chat, try again. You might get a more positive response to your request now they’re less busy. Especially if you can entice them outside with the promise of a coffee on a cafe terrace or a cocktail after work.
These informal meetings may not land you an immediate job offer, but expanding your network of professional connections might lead to the perfect opportunity later. Remember to catch up with people you’ve seen in the last few months. Personal circumstances and business conditions can change quickly and it can be to your advantage to be in the know.
Don’t forget professional networking groups. They often have summer parties or drinks that are less formal and make a welcome change from indoor conferences and presentations. But, be warned: taking advantage these events to step up your networking is fine, using it to launch into a hard sell won’t be appreciated.
Not every contact has to be directly about your job search. Summer events are perfect for catching up with your network socially, sharing holiday news and plans for the rest of the year. The conversation might circle back to professional talk but don’t be too pushy. You can always follow up with another meeting later.
Summer can be a challenging time for job seekers. You’ll need to be patient, resilient and realistic. But, keep on top of it. Hiring doesn’t stop and there are many advantages to keeping your contacts and networking groups warm.
Most importantly, stay a step ahead of the competition. Once everyone’s back from holiday, it’s hiring season again. Make sure all your marketing material – targeted CVs, covering letters and compelling LinkedIn profile – are all in top shape.