Find opportunities, bust summer job search myths

153528325Last week a job candidate described her angst in waiting to hear from employers about the status of their applications. Just like the Holidays, job searching through the summer can feel as though your efforts are put on hold until vacations are over and school is back in session.

She was on the brink of deciding to put her search on hold during the summer, yet another candidate that recently reached out to me was having a different kind of decision – multiple offers.

While the summer may seem slow, what makes some candidates have more opportunities than others? The answer might not be so much as the time of year as your job search skills.

From my experience, finding opportunities is based on a combination of outlook and willingness to make the best of the season, in spite of hearing all the reasons why it’s not a good time to search.

While some candidates are taking a hiatus waiting for activity to pick up after Labor Day, others are making the most of summer events like barbecuing, 4 of July 4 family gatherings and hosting outdoor activities that bring people together.

Informal networking turns into opportunities when you are out having fun and enjoying the moment. Sometimes the best jobs can be found when conducting a search is the farthest thing from your mind. In fact, you are not searching at all, rather you are focused on having conversations, meeting people and enjoying the event.

Whenever you have groups of people together, you have an opportunity to learn and gather information. The difference between getting out among people versus searching from home online is that you are face to face with possible referrals and hiring decision makers. The opportunity for you to continue building rapport long after the summer is over is much greater than staying at home waiting.

It’s not that you want to forget about your job search during the summer or wait for it to end so your new career can begin, on the contrary you’re prepared to talk about your goals and interests when the timing surfaces.

This sounds contradictory however a really great way to attract opportunities during the summer is to quit job searching and start connecting with people. You might be surprised at how much information you’ll collect.

When your goal is to meet people instead of searching for a job all of sudden you start tapping into the largest job market of all – the one not advertised. The term hidden job market is for real and roughly contains over half of all the jobs that exist with people who can make hiring decisions.

Truth is employers are always hiring good candidates through the summer and during the Holidays.

The point is when you meet people they could be influencers and help you broaden your network of contacts. You could end up making 10 times more progress during the summer than waiting for responses to come to you.

Don’t buy into the “no one’s hiring during the summer” myths,  instead be flexible and willing to meet people in a non-traditional job search way. By the way, the candidate who received multiple offers met only two contacts during a summer gala that in turn passed on their information to hiring decision makers.

Kim Thompson