Every year as summer approaches, most job seekers and career changers make the mistake of halting all their efforts. They believe there is no point in pursuing new opportunities during the summer, and that nobody is making hiring decisions until the fall.
Ford R. Myers, career coach, speaker and author of “Get The Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring,” says, “Summer is no time for job seekers to be trading in their business suits for swimsuits or their briefcases for beach bags. Summer is the perfect time for career advancement.”
Myers offers the following 10 tips to help job seekers stave off the summer “brain drain” and focus on career success:
1. Create and Control Your Internet Image. Whether it’s LinkedIn, YouTube or Facebook, every professional should have an online presence. Many employers research job candidates on the Internet before making hiring decisions. Therefore, it is vitally important that you take control of your online identity and carefully monitor the “personal brand” you’re building on the Internet.
2. Invest in Career Coaching. It might seem that career coaching would be a luxury in this difficult economic climate. Actually, this could be the best time to get some career coaching. A qualified career coach can help you get totally clear on your objective, differentiate yourself from the competition, market yourself effectively, get the offer, and negotiate the best compensation.
3. Tune Into the Network. Summer is one of the best times of the year to make new connections and find new opportunities. Contrary to popular belief, there are many summer networking events, planning meetings and social activities going on.
4. Perform an Internal Career Audit. Summer is a perfect time to take an honest look at your career – where you’ve been, where you are today, and where you’d like to go. Identify new goals based on your own definition of career success and then take action.
5. Update Your Career “Tool Kit.” Most job seekers use only their résumé as the cornerstone of their search because their other “tools” are weak or nonexistent. But there are many other documents you should have in your “career tool kit” – accomplishment stories, positioning statement, one-page biography, target company list, contact list, professional references, letters of recommendation, and more. These items are important not just to land the next job – but also to maximize your long-term career success.
6. Solidify Relationships. During the summer, most people are naturally more relaxed, convivial and generous in spirit. There is simply no better time to solidify existing relationships and forge new ones.
7. Volunteer. There are myriad volunteer opportunities available during the summer. This is a good way to help people, to feel good about making a difference, to have a renewed sense of purpose during your search, and to meet other professionals who may be able to help you.
8. Call People. Make new connections through your network and follow up with people you’ve already met. In many cases, people who are at work during the heat of the summer will not only be available for conversation, but will be grateful just to speak to someone.
9. It is Better to Give Than to Receive. The fastest and most effective strategy for getting help is to offer help to others. Ask the people in your network who they might like an introduction to or if there is any way that you can be of assistance to them professionally.
10. Become and Opportunity Magnet. Always think and speak positively and never say anything negative. This will help you to become an opportunity magnet – poised to attract, interview and “hire” your next employer.
“If you are currently in career transition, these strategies should give you a fresh perspective on a summer job search. Instead of ‘taking a vacation’ from your career development activities, take full advantage of this overlooked opportunity to make real progress in your career quest,” adds Myers.