There’s a persistent myth in the business world that summer is a bad time to look for a job. People are on vacation, temperatures are soaring and everything seems to slow to a grinding halt, so obviously hiring takes a backseat, right? Not necessarily.
Summer can actually be a great time to look for a job, if you know how to use the slower pace and casual atmosphere to your advantage.
To learn more, we spoke with Lori Scherwin, a Tulane alumna and founder of Strategize That, an executive coaching firm. Here’s why she says summer is a great time to look for a job.
Summer is a great time to slow down and reevaluate your career goals, Scherwin says. “Hopefully there is a lull in your workflow, which gives you an opportunity to take a step back and think about where you are, where you’ve been and where you want to go,” she says. It’s halfway between this year’s New Year’s resolutions and next year’s. Is your career progressing like you wanted?
If this evaluation leads you to think your current job is not right, summer can provide a great time to start your search. If you’ve been looking for a while but haven’t had any luck, summer can give you a chance to take stock and regain a laser focus. Are you targeting the right companies and positions? Are you completely certain what you’re looking for?
One exercise Scherwin says she likes to use with clients is having them picture their future, using as many details as possible. “Imagine it is one year from today and you are achieving more than ever. What has happened to make this possible? Where are you, what are you doing, who are you doing it with, etc.?” She says this kind of brainstorming is a great way to figure out where you will thrive the most and be happiest.
“Conventional wisdom suggests hiring slows over the summer, but that doesn’t mean the process grinds to a halt,” Scherwin says. Companies may see fewer applicants and résumés over the summer, but that gives you an even greater opportunity to stand out amid a smaller crowd.
The decision process for hiring sometimes takes longer during summer. It can be more difficult to get candidates through the full hiring process and have budget decisions finalized when team members are out for vacation and maybe taking advantage of relaxed summer hours, Scherwin says. But companies know this too, and that means jobs you see posted in the summer are likely urgent and need to be filled quickly, otherwise they’d be put off until fall. “If a company is actively hiring for an urgent position, they’ll take it just as seriously in summer,” Sherwin says. When you see or hear about a relevant position in the summer, jump on that opportunity.
If your office is offering summer flex time, use it. Summer is a great time to reconnect with former colleagues and friends over outdoor lunches, coffee or drinks, Scherwin says. “Over the summer months, when your network may also have more work downtime, there may be more alignment in the calendar to get you together,” she says. “Networking is about relationships, and so, to the extent you can strengthen yours when people may have more time on their hands, go for it!”
One caveat: Your co-workers have flex time, too. If it’s your week to be “on call” in the office to cover for others who are gone, take that very seriously, Scherwin says. There’s no reason to burn bridges at the current job while searching for another.
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