If you’re trying to make a change in your career, summer can feel a bit demoralizing with the pace of hiring feeling slower.
It’s true that it often takes longer for hiring managers to get back to you about positions. And hearing about next steps after an interview might take longer with people’s vacations and different work schedules during the summer months. But hiring definitely does happen!
But if you’re feeling like the job search process has felt slow, and like your applications have gone into a black hole, there’s still a lot you can do over the next few months that's critical to making a career transition.
Get Clear On What You’re Looking For
Are you looking at job boards, but aren’t really clear about what types of jobs or industries or organizations you’re interested in pursuing? Well now is the time to do a lot of the reflection and work to get clear on what you’re looking for!
If someone asks you, ‘what are you looking to do next?’ or ‘what kind of job are you searching for?’ you need to know how to answer them. If they’re willing to help you, but you can’t tell them what you’re looking for and why, they can't give you the support or connections you probably need.
So first thing’s first: Find clarity on the specifics of what you’re looking for.
Need help knowing where to start?
Practice your Communications
Even if you know what you’re looking for, being able to communicate it to others is a whole other ball game. Once you know what you’re looking for, you want to make sure that you can tell others in a concise, specific, polished way.
There are a few other things that you’ll want to be prepared for in terms of communicating during a job search as well. For example, you’re pretty much guaranteed to get the, ‘tell me about yourself…’ or the, ‘walk me through your resume…’ question. Do you have your 2-3 minute response down? Do you know how to tell your story about why you’re there and why that job is the right fit for you?
Consistently working with clients on this piece, I see that most everyone dreads the question and just sort of wings it initially. And for most everyone I work with, it takes a few hours to really feel confident and clear on how to answer it. To really nail the interview and start off on the best foot, getting your answers to these questioned super refined is critical.
Feel ready to answer those questions? How about other common interview questions you’re likely to get? You’re going to have to do it at some point so why not now? Summer is a great time to work on these answers so they’re ready to go when your search heats up and you’re interviewing.
No, really, I'm being serious!
Have you ever gotten off the phone after scheduling an interview you’re pumped for and realize, ‘I have nothing to wear!’
I definitely have had that happen. Heck, I know people who have gone shopping for something to wear right before their interview! How stressful!
Why not get that interview outfit prepped so you don’t have to worry about it when the time comes?
Summer sales - here you come!
Get Your Materials Ready
Is your resume 100% up to date, accurate and strong? If not, now is definitely the time to do that.
How about your reference list? And writing samples to fit the types of jobs you’re applying for?
You can’t really prep cover letters ahead of time since they really need to be tailored to the position (and writing samples should be tailored too as much as you can), but getting everything in order as best as possible now means you wouldn’t have to work as hard at it later.
Check Your Online Profile
Just like your resume, you should make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date with recent accomplishments, skills, and a solid summary at the top that clearly states who you are and what your specialty is (and potentially what you’re looking for).
In addition to LinkedIn, now’s a great time to check your Facebook profile and any other social sites you're on to make sure that the content – both written and photos – are professional enough that they wouldn't raise any red flags or seem inappropriate to hiring managers.
Trust me, many recruiters and HR staff these days are more likely to go straight to the internet and Google you than look at your resume.
Worried about your boss seeing you super active and making changes on LinkedIn? Schedule time on your calendar to update it when your boss is on vacation!
Who isn’t down to catch up over an early happy hour drink at a nice outside spot during the summer?
Grab a beer or glass of rose with a former colleague or others who you might want to enlist to help you in your job search. Summer is a great time to connect with people who you haven’t seen in a while if you can get your schedules to line up!
Feel awkward reaching out? Check out their Facebook profile and see if they've posted photos from their summer travels. You can always start a conversation saying you’d love to hear about their trip to Yellowstone and catch up in general over a drink.
The one last tip I’ll share for making the most of what might seem like a slow job searching season is that now is a great time to work with a career coach. I, like many other coaches, don’t plan many workshops or programs over the summer months because people just want to take a break. That means that we have less demands on our time over the next few months. So working with a coach over the summer you’ll likely get more bang for your buck.
For example, they’ll take more time reviewing your resume or LinkedIn profile than they might otherwise when things are very busy for them. I know I’m always able and willing to go the extra mile for my clients with respect to making connections, or giving feedback when things are slower.
Sorry... you were probably hoping that this post was going to say, 'yea, job seeking is pointless in the summer! Go grab a drink and a good book and take a nap!'
I promise you'll be glad you did all of this now so that you're able to make the most of your search when things heat back up again!