Ah, the lazy days of summer. We're in the sweet spot now with the culmination of countless barbecues, pool parties and majestic sunsets. Just because things feel light and breezy during the summer doesn't mean you should get lax during your search. Au contraire!
Maybe your current job is tolerable enough to sustain you until Labor Day, when you may convince yourself it's time to ramp up your search, but technically, the summer is an ideal time to forge ahead.
For starters, your competition may take a break, so with a mindset that it's survival of the fittest, only the determined and persistent candidates prevail. You deserve to be in the camp that perseveres; consistent behavior will pay off in the long run. Choose to outlast your competition and tweak a few things to actually enjoy the process.
Here are four tips to stay on track:
1. Leverage social outings for networking. Have fun with networking opportunities as they present themselves, whether it's a fundraising volleyball-athon on the beach or a volunteer event planting trees in a local park. Even old-school networking events take on a playful feel in the summer. For instance, NYC Talent Hack held a meetup recently with 25 employers on the rooftop of co-host OrderGroove's lower Manhattan building. Instead of attending an indoor stodgy job fair with hundreds of participants, employers from various startups appeared in casual attire as relaxed job seekers networked in an intimate setting.
2. Schedule informational interviews during summer Fridays. If you're not seeing as many job opportunities online, that doesn't mean hiring isn't occurring. The hidden job market is working its magic behind the scenes and you never know when new opportunities will become available to the public. As such, job seekers should leverage lighter summer schedules to continue networking. In particular, condensed workweeks create prime opportunities to reach out to connections, grab a cup of coffee at a café's outdoor patio and tap into each other's network. Take advantage of the downtime and in turn, you may find your job search feels lighter, less burdensome and ultimately more fun.
3. Ramp up other areas of your search. Speaking of downtime, it may be a bit challenging to sync schedules if some of your prospects are out of town on vacation. That doesn't mean you have to stop pounding the pavement. It just means you may need to alter the course, that's all. Your destination remains the same; your path becomes a little more vibrant.
If you need a breather from the search, this is one way to sidestep without completely surrendering. Essentially, it's time to work on You, Inc. When was the last time you brushed up your résumé and read it aloud to see if it was wordy? Conducted a mock interview with a mentor? Honed your soft skills by attending a Toastmaster's event? Nailed your elevator pitch? Took an improv class or open mike night at a comedy club to test your ability to think on your feet? Another area could even be something as important as taking time to shop for a sharp new interview suit. There are ways to keep the search in motion even if employers and contacts aren't getting back to you.
4. Create a "ta-da list." If you create copious to-do lists and keep track of your contacts and interactions, you're certainly organized and ambitious. But what happens if you're perhaps an overachiever and focusing only on whom you need to hear back from instead of what you have accomplished and whom you have reached? Take a moment, remember to breathe and take stock of the progress you have made.
Unfortunately, in a job search the only tangible sign job seekers tend to notice is a job offer in hand, but how about the type of interviews you've landed? Connections you've made? Feedback you've gotten on your interviews? Something new you learned about a company or corporate structure? Knowledge gained about industry developments? Although there are many factors outside your control during a search, there are many aspects within your domain such as how you choose to view your achievement for remaining steadfast to your goals.
Vicki Salemi is the author of Big Career in the Big City and creator, producer and host of Score That Job. This New York City-based career expert and public speaker possesses more than 15 years of corporate experience in recruiting and human resources. She coaches college grads individually with an intense Job Search Boot Camp, writes and edits the MediaJobsDaily blog on Mediabistro, and conducts interviews as a freelance journalist with celebrities and notable names. BlogHer named her one of the country's top 25 career and business women bloggers worth reading!