Use these months to get a leg up on the competition.
Just like that, the year is already halfway over.
Instead of trying to figure out how it's already June, let's face the facts: In January you probably decided this was – check that, is – your year to make a significant change in your career – whether it's a leap to the next level or boost in your income. Yet here you find yourself midyear, still toiling away in the same position, barely tolerating things like a toxic environment, boring projects and stagnant pay.
It may feel tempting to postpone your job search endeavors until Labor Day because you think there are less open positions in the summer, but that will likely become Thanksgiving, then the December holidays and before you know it, another new year. Don't let this be you! Countless job offers are indeed extended at this time of year. And if you need more convincing, here are five specific reasons why you should keep your job hunt thriving during the summer months.
It's the perfect time to re-assess your job search efforts. While you shouldn't convince yourself that it's okay to spend the whole summer "thinking," the slower pace of things provides a great opportunity to take a step back and evaluate your efforts since January. What has been effective? What hasn't been working? What can you tweak? Take stock of your elevator pitch, update your resume with any new titles or skills you've developed and ensure your social media profiles are crisp and professional. By conducting a self-audit, you'll be able to make slight changes that will enhance your search through the rest of the summer, and year.
You're getting ahead of the competition. Consider this: There's a significant decrease in online application submissions between June and Labor Day. For recruiters, this is tough, but it's great news for job seekers! During the summer, recruiters have less resumes and cover letters to review. Simply put, you'll have less competition for the jobs you want.
Sure, it may feel challenging to keep the job hunt going while you're planning a vacation or enjoying those summer Fridays, but you need to keep your eye on the prize. Instead of waiting until September to resume your job search, this is the perfect time to refocus on your New Year's resolutions. As long as you stay on top of your job search – even if it's just with coffee meetings or informational phone interviews – you'll keep developing your prospects and in turn, be ahead of other qualified job seekers. They snooze, they lose – and you ultimately win.
Scheduling interviews can feel easier. During the summer (depending on your industry and when your busy season is) you may notice a slight decrease in your workload. When the weather starts to warm up, lighter dress codes and more opportunities to work remotely can lead to a more relaxed feel in the office.
As a result, you may have more freedom to take those informative networking phone calls and meetings on your personal time. Instead of feeling like you're sneaking out of the office, you can confidently pursue conversations about the next step in your career. That way, you can focus on impressing whoever you're meeting with instead of feeling paranoid about your cover being blown at the office.
Networking may feel more casual. If you tend to find traditional, professional networking situations like conferences challenging, the summer presents excellent opportunities to ramp up your job search. Barbecuing with neighbors? Great! Most of them probably have useful advice and several contacts they can share with you over a burger. Playing in a summer softball league? Excellent! Grab a beer afterwards and get to know your teammates – and their professions.
Plus, summer conversations in general tend to lend themselves well to breaking the ice – whether you're talking about the local weather forecast or summer vacation destinations, striking up conversations may feel less forced and more organic when they're simply that: casual conversations between regular people – that just so happen to lead to talking about your professional goals, of course!
You can gain perspective on your current job situation. If you were anticipating a promotion this year, has it happened? What is the timeline and what are the skills you need to hone before it can become a reality? Also, evaluate your compensation. What are your financial goals – with your current salary, will that increase be easy or difficult to achieve over the next three years? If you're feeling a little too comfortable now, remind yourself why you were steadfast in your decision to leave your job in January. Revisit those underlying reasons and instead of tolerating a mediocre raise, force yourself to face the facts.
The longer you stay in your current role, the longer your financial goals will fall short of your desired compensation. As you're searching for a new job, think about the challenging situations you continue to face. Instead of just accepting them, use them to come up with talking points for your next interview. For instance, perhaps you encountered a new colleague who seems to constantly undermine you. Stressful, yes, but it will serve as a robust example to share during interviews when you're asked how you navigate working with difficult people!
Look at the summer as a time to re-evaluate your job-searching efforts and kick the hunt into high gear. Stay the course and you'll create momentum that lasts well into Labor Day and beyond.
Vicki Salemi is a career expert for Monster, a global leader in connecting people to jobs. She utilizes her more than 15 years of experience in corporate recruiting and human resources to empower job seekers with insights and firsthand knowledge from the halls of HR. A public speaker and consultant, Vicki is the author of "Big Career in the Big City,” and former creator/host/producer of MediabistroTV's "Score That Job."