The weather is starting to heat up, but what about your job search? Summer is associated with many things, but new career beginnings usually aren’t one of them.
Despite this, job searching continues, especially for fresh college graduates entering the workforce. If you need a job, you need a job. We’ll brave the heat and look into the pros and cons of a summer job search and provide tips on how to make this your most productive summer yet.
Is summer a good time to search?
Just as with the holiday season, experts are mixed on whether summer is a good time to apply or not. With less seasonal work available in most industries and many employees taking summer vacations, Valerie Streif, senior content at Pramp, viewed summer as one of the two worst times to seek employment.
“During the middle of summer, the least amount of vacancies are posted, not only for seasonal jobs but also regular positions, since teams are usually juggling many different employees taking time off for summer vacation. It’s also an awkward time to get started – right in the middle of the year.” – Valerie Streif
Meanwhile, The Muse’s Kat Boogaard suggests that summer is a good time to keep the search moving despite what others may say. Hiring managers have a full-year job and will always be looking to fill open positions. There may be less competition as others slow down their search, and hiring managers may be less busy as a result.
According to NACE, employers are expected to hire 27% more recent graduates this year compared to 2021. So even if summer is often viewed as a poor job to search, the market is currently in your favor.
Your mileage will vary based on the industry and type of position you seek. But if you need a new job, there’s no reason you have to wait until fall. So how can you make the most of your search?
Summer means more daylight and an earlier start, and your search should follow suit. If others believe this is the time to slow down their search, zig while they zag. Before you start getting your applications out, however, you’ll want to come up with a plan.
Research the companies you’re interested in working for to start getting an idea of what they are looking for. You will never regret doing too much research. This allows you to prepare your documents accordingly.
Many fresh graduates or athletes transitioning to the business world will commonly use a “one size fits all” methodology with their resume and cover letter, but a set of documents tailored to the position you are applying for is much more likely to catch a recruiter’s attention. Margaret Steen of Stanford Report acknowledges that recent grads will need to send out more applications than someone established in an industry, so it may not be practical to start from scratch with every application. She says a hybrid approach, creating one main resume and tweaking it as needed, is a helpful strategy.
Don’t forget about networking
No matter if you’re newly entering the workforce or you’re a seasoned veteran, networking is always crucial to career development. With warm weather, people are looking to make the most of it by going to social events, and this applies to the professional world as well.
If you’re a recent graduate, your school or department may have alumni events that can be the perfect opportunity to get your name out there. CNBC’s Katie Hopsicker suggests using any resources your college can offer to your advantage.
“Most universities and colleges have career centers, and these centers are there to help you. Resources like resume workshops, job hunt seminars and even email newsletters detailing job openings may open the door for you to find your next opportunity.” –Katie Hopsicker
But networking doesn’t have to be completely formal, and opportunities aren’t limited to graduates. Take time to reach out to those you already know for a cold beverage to check-in. Go out of your way to interact with new people at any barbeques or other fun events you attend. Networking happens all year, but summertime often puts people in a social mood.
Enhance your skills
Your growth doesn’t have to be put on hold while you search. There are many avenues available to increase your skills while expanding your network.
For example, you’re never too cool for summer school! Harvard University suggests summer classes can teach or hone new skills in a controlled, often more relaxed environment. These classes don’t have to be official, and you don’t have to take out loans. Search for free, online options or audit classes on sites like MasterClass or Coursera.
Volunteering is another underutilized way to grow your network and your skill-set. Just because you aren’t getting paid doesn’t mean the skills you learn don’t have value, and you’ll have a chance to connect with others you may not meet otherwise.
Many will use the summertime to focus on vacations, but that doesn’t mean employment opportunities aren’t out there. With a good strategy in place, you can take advantage of the slower hiring cycle. No matter where you’re at in your career, it always pays to keep networking and honing your skills while you search. Most of all, be patient! Communication may be slower due to managers on vacation, but if you put in the work and stay cool, you should get results!