Many job-seekers decide to take it easy during the summer. After all, it's difficult to get in touch with your networking contacts -- not to mention corporate decision-makers. A number of key people on your list are likely vacationing and those who stick around are apt to be taking shorter workweeks. Life in general slows down. So does that mean you can cut back on your job search in favor of spending more time relaxing in your hammock? Absolutely not!
Most people don't realize it, but summer represents one of the two best times of the year to ramp up your job 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, and attractive candidate everyone wants on their team.
There are four reasons why this surprising fact is true:
1. Your competition levels drop. The vast majority of job-seekers figure that summer is a waste of time and make only marginal efforts to look for work. They choose to take a break and ramp back up in September when things start moving again. But their big mistake becomes your big advantage. With far fewer applicants in the candidate pool, you'll have a prime opportunity to get noticed. So, by keeping your efforts going full speed ahead and with your job search goals in mind, you'll be positioning yourself to make a major impact.
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 into place and many times these projects require additional staff. Therefore, even though you may not be hired in July or August, by making your presence known now, you're likely to find yourself first in line to be called in for an interview in early September.
3. Summer is a great time to socialize. Backyard parties, gatherings, and community events are prime opportunities to "meet and greet" and get the word out about all you have to offer. Most of these events will be friendly and casual so you won't want to deliver a rehearsed elevator speech. Rather, plan to use a lighter touch and create an engaging one-liner that piques your listener's interest.
When one successful candidate was asked about her line of work, she turned her career as a buyer into a great one-liner. Her reply? "I shop with other people's money." This type of attention-grabbing statement will serve as 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.
4. Seasonal and part-time opportunities abound. The seasonal job market has opened up and many employers welcome applicants with well-honed communication skills and a mature work ethic. Especially if you're someone with a yen for history, the arts and/or hospitality, you might consider seasonal work. The pay won't be great, but you can add the position to your resume and you'll likely meet a number of potentially helpful contacts.
Moreover, part-time and/or temporary, contract positions are more plentiful during the summer as organizations scramble to cover for their vacationing employees. If you land a part-time position in your line of work and at a company where you'd like to be employed, your chances of being brought on full time are good. You'll already be known for your abilities and commitment. Better yet, the company will be spared the outlay of cash and time involved in the hiring process, training a new employee and bringing them up to speed.
Here are some links to get you thinking about seasonal, part-time and contract opportunities aimed at mature applicants:
So plan to take full advantage of all the social and professional opportunities the summer has to offer. Open up your thinking and be sure to 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 back in the ranks of the happily employed!
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. Updated in February 2013, it's packed with even more critical information aimed at providing mature applicants with the tools they need 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!