Q: I’ve been told that hiring slows down in the summertime. Is that true, and if so, how should I adjust my job search efforts so that my resume isn’t getting lost in the shuffle?
A: There is some truth to the rumor that, for many companies hiring slows down in the summer from June until the end of August. However, this is less about the needs of an organization slowing, or a seasonal hiring freeze going into effect. The simple truth is that many people take vacation time in the summer, and that often complicates the process of coordinating interviews, team meetings, and other administrative approvals needed to bring on a new hire.
You might be tempted to wait until September to pick your search back up, in hopes that your resume won’t get lost in the inbox of someone who’s on vacay for the next 2 weeks. But I urge you to not let the summer act as an excuse to halt or even scale back on your search. If you need a job, waiting it out for 3 months isn’t going to do you any favors, and companies are still hiring. In fact, it can be a great time to get your resume out there since everyone else is reacting to the supposed “slump” and there’s potential for less competition.
If you’re concerned about the lack of momentum, and you have flexibility, you might consider using your time to focus on other beneficial career activities:
Get your resume together anyway.
If you’re a passive job seeker, it’s easy to throw the task of updating your resume on the back burner until you have an immediate need/more time/more money. Even if you’re not in a rush to apply to opportunities, embrace the summer slow down as the perfect time to tackle the task and make sure all of your personal branding ducks are in a row come September.
Do some heavy networking.
Summer is a great time to network and meet people. There’s no shortage of seasonal events, parties, and BBQs to mix and mingle with your industry peers. Use that exposure to your advantage. Thinking about looking for a new gig? Get out there and meet people, tell them that you’re looking and what it is you do. Connections can be made when you least expect, so always be open.
Hit the research.
One of the reasons I consistently see people coming up short in their job search results is because they’re not clear on what they’re actually looking for, or whom they want to work for. Do some investigation work on different companies and get a sense of the type of company culture you want to be part of and how that allows you to do your best work. Stop applying to anything and everything that sounds like “Sure, I can do this job…” and figure out what your core skills and talents are that you bring to the table, what you like and dislike, and where can you use those to create value.
Work on your interviewing skills.
Having a stellar resume that gets you in the door for the interview is only half of the equation; you need to be able to sell yourself to the HR powers that be. Particularly if you’ve been off the job market for a while, you’ll want to spend some time practicing talking about yourself and telling your “career story”, communicating your skills and experience, what you did in your most recent role… and why you’re leaving. Grab a friend for the afternoon and ask them to be your sounding board for feedback. Or hire an interviewing/career coach.
Take inventory of your skill sets.
What’s your next move? If it’s time to make a change and move up, start looking at job descriptions for the level above where you currently are, and identify any skills or experience that you might be lacking. If they’re looking for expert proficiency in SalesForce and you’re moderately familiar with it, jump on a subscription-based training site like Lynda.com or download a free software trial and toy around with it. Spending a few hours upping your level of skill could mean a $10-20K+ bump in your salary.