The Summer Slow Down? Not So Fast!
There is a perception that summer is a slow time at work, and for some organizations this may be true. Many employees take vacations, long lunches and four-day work weeks to cut out early and head to the coast. Job seekers, however, shouldn’t be fooled by this more leisurely pace. For those looking for work, summer can be a time when a job search just starts heating up!
If you’re unemployed and have been looking for a job for a while, you may feel discouraged and think you deserve a break from the grind. There is a tendency for out-of-work people who have been diligently slogging through the job search process to consider taking a summer “break.” That voice in your head says, “You’ve been working so hard. You deserve it. It will be so slow anyway. You can start again in the fall. You can use the time to (learn to swim/improve your golf game/paint the house).” Don’t fall into the trap of listening to that voice! If you need to recharge, take a long weekend or a few days, but fight through the urge to give up the job search during the summer.
There is no off-season when looking for a job. In fact, taking time off from job hunting could hurt you in the long run, especially if you’re currently unemployed. It will add yet another couple of months to the time that you’re out of work (making you a less desirable hire). Your wallet can also take a hit and you may miss out on a great opportunity. What if that perfect job, the one you’ve been waiting for, shows up on August 15? If you forgo your search during these months, you could gain a tan, but you could miss out on that dream job.
It’s a myth that summer is slow for hiring. In fact, last year, the week of July 4 was the busiest for placements for WinterWyman’s technology contracting division. This year we have a better overall job market and we’re expecting the flow of jobs to continue. There is no reason to think it won’t be busy again this summer.
One of the reasons summer can be hot for job searching is because so many people erroneously believe the market is dead! Many people suspend their search or stop actively looking. Don’t make the same mistake. You may have less competition!
Summer can be a more casual time at many organizations. As a job seeker, you can take advantage of this reality to build your network by setting up meetings and informational interviews. People who are usually too busy may have time for lunch or after-work drinks during the summer. Take your meeting al fresco. You will have a captive audience because they will be enjoying the gorgeous weather and won’t want to rush back indoors to the office.
The one disadvantage of a summer job search is that the interview and hiring process can slow down. It may take longer to schedule interviews because of people’s vacation schedules. Realize that this is a necessary evil and don’t get discouraged. Do your best to be available and try not to add your own vacation into the mix!
Since the process can be delayed, you may need to adjust your timetable. It isn’t too soon to begin a search if you want to start in a new job this fall. Get in touch with a recruiter now if you want to be in a new position when the air becomes brisk.
If you’re unemployed and looking for a job, you may also want to consider taking a short-term position. If you’ve never thought about contract work, summer is a great time to try it. While you’re looking for that permanent post, contract work can help pay the bills, expand your network and be a boost to your morale. Many times contract work can lead to a permanent position. Even if it doesn’t, why not generate revenue and get yourself working while you look for a permanent job?
Even if you are not actively engaged in a job search, pay attention to trends over the summer months. What is happening in your industry? What’s new? Who is moving where? Who is hiring? Which competitors are on top? Stay engaged in the news and these conversations. Summer is also a great time to brush up on your skills — take a class, learn a new technology or attend a seminar. You will gain knowledge about your industry, but will also gain marketability as you position yourself as an expert in your field.
Even if the sandy beach and waves are calling you, don’t give up your job search this summer. Take advantage of this “slow” time to punch up your search and get that new job!