As a seasoned job-seeker you may be thinking the lazy, hazy days of summer dictate that you, too, kick back and slow down your search efforts. After all, a number of your networking contacts are likely vacationing and those who stick around are apt take a shorter work week, opting to enjoy their three-day weekends at some nearby destination. Life in general slows down. So doesn't that mean you should, too?
Absolutely not! In truth, summer represents one of the two best times of the year to ramp up your search. Second only to the holidays (for many of the same reasons), summer is the perfect time to get out there and make your presence known as the competent, can-do, attractive candidate everyone wants on their team.
Here are three reasons why it's best to forgo the hammock, lay off the mint juleps and keep plugging away:
1. Your competition levels plummet. The vast majority of job-seekers figure that summer is a waste of time and make only marginal efforts to look for work. They opt to relax, hang out at the beach and gear back up in September. Their big mistake becomes your big advantage. With far fewer applicants in the candidate pool, you'll have a prime opportunity to highlight your strengths and get noticed. By keeping your job search goals in mind, you'll be positioned to make a major impact while your competition is off having fun in the sun.
2. Early fall is one of the strongest hiring periods of the year. Just like the school year begins anew, organizations start gearing up after the summer slowdown. New projects and initiatives are put in place and often these projects will require additional staff. Therefore, even though you may not be hired in July or August, by making your presence known now, you might very well find yourself first in line to be called in for an interview in early September.
3. Opportunities for socializing abound. Backyard parties, gatherings and community events are prime opportunities to press the flesh and tell your story. You won't want to deliver a rehearsed elevator speech unless you're attending a formal industry event where such introductions would be common. You'll want to plan to use a lighter touch and create an engaging one-liner that peeks your listener's interest. For example, one candidate I worked with was a buyer for a major department store chain. Her one-liner? "I shop with other people's money." This type of attention-grabbing statement will serve as both an instant rapport builder and get them wanting more information about what you do. Then you can deliver a lengthier description of your skills and experience.
So, if you need to find a job, plan to take full advantage of all the social and professional activities summer has to offer. Get out there, make yourself known and present yourself as the knowledgeable, enthusiastic candidate you are. You never know whom you might meet and where such opportunities might lead. And, come early fall, you just might find yourself happily employed in a brand new position!
Mary Eileen Williams is a Nationally Board Certified Career Counselor with a Master's Degree in Career Development and twenty years' experience assisting midlife jobseekers to achieve satisfying careers. Her book, Land the Job You Love: 10 Surefire Strategies for Jobseekers Over 50, is a step-by-step guide that shows you how you can turn your age into an advantage and brand yourself for success. Recently updated, it's packed with even more information aimed at providing mature applicants with the tools to gain the edge over the competition and successfully navigate the modern job market. Visit her website at Feisty Side of Fifty.com and celebrate your sassy side!