It’s Fourth of July week. And people are, frankly, more likely to be focused on outdoor fireworks than your resume. Even if you are a dream candidate applying for a job that seems to have been tailor made for you.
There’s no doubt about it: Summer’s a tough time from both sides of the hiring desk.
If you’re a job seeker, it’s hard to turn down invitations to grill out so you can apply for new opportunities.
If you’re a hiring manager or a recruiter with a deadline to make an offer, it can take longer than usual because many decision makers are away. People take vacations. Meetings get postponed. References go away on vacation.
Does this mean you should hang up your job search? No. Especially since plenty of potential job applicants are also grilling out, water skiing, eating ice cream — and finding ways to take time off from the job search. And many non-profit organizations and universities run on a fiscal year that ends June 30. Some of these organizations that began a new fiscal year on July 1 are officially starting a brand new hiring season right now.
What it does mean: You shouldn’t give up on your job search — especially when it’s summer!
Here are three strategies you can use to win when applying for jobs this summer. All of these strategies start with a common tactic: Play the game so you can be an easy hire. To increase your batting average of jobs applied for versus interviews received, make it simple for employers to consider you.
Here are three strategies you can use to make this work — any day of the week:
1. Apply for the job as soon as you see it.
Last summer StartWire conducted an analysis of 6,400 hires made across 10 industries. Half of the successful hires had something in common: They all applied for a job within the first seven days it was posted!
Applying early helps ensure that you get an employer’s proper attention. So take the time to apply for jobs as you see them –before you head to the store for cookout supplies.
2. When you apply, make a human connection.
As most employers use software that rank and track applications even before they are read, it’s essential to include the right keywords in your resume, cover letter, and online application. (Here’s how to do this.)
But it’s equally important to have an employer associate your name with an application. To do this, call or email the employer as soon as you’ve applied — and let them know of your application to the job. (Quick ways to make contact with an employer include finding their main number via online Super Pages, company websites, and Twitter’s Advanced Search function.)
When you follow-up with employers, give them a 1-2 sentence overview of your skills. Example: Let’s say you are applying for a job in event management and are applying for a job with a local Chamber of Commerce. If you have past experience, state that at the outset. Here’s a sample voice mail:
Hi, this is Hillary Thomas. I see you are looking for a new Event Manager, and wanted to let you know that I applied for the job online. I have three years of experience and have served as the lead assistant to event operations directors for events with an attendance of up to 1,000. If you’d like to talk directly, I can be reached at <<phone number.>>
Tip: One of the best ways to leave this type of message is to do it at night — so you can use company phone systems to erase and start again if your first message isn’t perfect!
3. Prepare your references.
One of the best ways to get a good reference is to let people know you are listing them as a reference before you share their information with employers.
If you’ve been invited to interview and are in the final stages of a search, it’s important to stay in touch with your references — and know when they are going out of town. You want to make sure you are covered when someone wants to “check and hire” quickly. Proactive move: If your reference plans to be away, have your potential reference contact your potential employer before they are going out of town. Often, this can speed up the process.
Another alternative if you have an interview: Make copies of past performance reviews (assuming they are positive) and offer to share them with your interviewer at the time of your meeting!
Finding a job in the summer may be challenging from vacations to fun events, but you can still rise to the top of the employment line with these strategies. Try them out and let us know how they work for you.