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Summer Is no Time to Take a Break from Job Hunting
The lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer are coming, right?
Not if you’re in the market for a new job!
You might hear that it’s fruitless to search for a new job during the summer, that everyone’s on vacation, no one’s hiring, etc., etc., but that’s just not true. In fact, this rumor may have been started by people who’d really like to take the summer off and hang by the pool, then get cracking again when the leaves start to turn.
And that’s where you have the advantage — it’s not that fewer jobs are open in the summer, it’s that fewer people are looking for them. Let’s face it, who wants to be unemployed all throughout the spring, when it rains four out of every five days, and then get a job in a windowless cubicle just as the sun comes out? Why not wait a few more weeks? Here are a few reasons not to:
- Your bills will be lower. If you’re home all summer, you’ll have to run your air conditioner all day, and that will mean much higher electric bills. Let your employer pay to keep you cool.
- You’ll beat the rush. Your chances of finding a job are better if you look for one when no one else is looking. A job that opens in September could get 3x as many applicants as one in July — less competition equals better chances of being hired.
- You’ll have more money. Maybe you have enough to tide you over for the summer, but when it comes time to go holiday shopping or plan a vacation, the extra cash you made over the summer will make your downtime all the rosier.
OK, so now you know WHY you should look for a job in the summer — now you need to know HOW. It’s similar to looking for a job at other times of the year, but you need to make a few important tweaks for your summer search.
- Make a schedule. Having kids home from school or vacations planned may complicate your search, but don’t let your challenges come to a screeching halt. Work around them. Schedule some time each day to make or return phone calls, send out emails and queries or otherwise knock on doors, so to speak. A window from 9-10am, and 3-4pm is good, and will still get you plenty of time to work on your tan. Do this while the kids are at camp, outside playing, at a friend’s, etc. On days they aren’t doing any of these things, pop their favorite movie in the DVD player and get to work. (Hint: Do the phone calls first, before they start in with, “MOM, he’s hitting me!”)
- Never stop networking. Summer is a more social time because the weather is nicer and travel is a popular summer activity. Every time you go to a party or a barbecue, be prepared with a list of companies you’re looking to target: and ask for introductions. You know how it is here in Washington — sooner or later someone will ask you where you’re working now, and there’s your opportunity.
- Take a contract job. This may not be what you ideally have in mind — doing the work of someone who is vacationing in Europe — but it’s the perfect time to sharpen your skills, or learn a new skill. Many companies hire temporary workers over the summer to fill in for all the workers who take vacation at this time, and it’s an opportunity you shouldn’t let slip away. Even if it doesn’t lead to an immediate job offer, six months down the road when one of their employees leaves, they may call you.
- Consider your industry. If you’re in education, you know all the important hiring goes on in the summer. Teachers and administrators need to be in place by the end of summer. August is time many principals and department heads are desperate to quickly fill positions suddenly left vacant by employees by a teacher relocating or not returning for this reason or that.Other fields, like accounting, see a slowdown in the summer and use this time to recruit new talent. Consider what your field is like in the heat of the summer.
In short, no industry is lazily snoozing away their summer. They need good, talented workers, year-round — they need you! Don’t be daunted if you don’t get a return phone call right away. The hiring process might be interrupted by vacations, but the hiring itself is not. Keep track of who you spoke to last and when it was, and call back in a week or so when they have likely returned from their trips.
So go ahead and climb into that lounge chair with a good book and a drink with an umbrella this summer — after you’ve finished your job search for the day.