Gearing Up for a Fall Job Search? Here’s What You Should Do in August.
Decision makers are on vacation, offices are empty, budgets frozen, and candidate searches placed on hold. What’s a jobseeker to do in the final weeks of summer? Work harder than ever, of course.
Don’t use this employer downtime as an excuse to take a vacation from your job search. Instead, take advantage of the annual hiring hiatus by positioning yourself for a productive fall job search. Attend to aspects of your search you’ve been neglecting: Revise your resume and cover letter templates, increase your networking contacts, spruce up your internet profile, add content to your professional web site, or finally launch one.
The good news is that when hiring managers get back from their vacations, they often find themselves under pressure to make hires. Managers will be eager to staff up as they start feeling the pressure to hit year-end goals. Department heads will want to fill positions and start using salary lines before they lose headcount.
The following tips can help you make the most of the final weeks of summer so you can spring ahead of the competition come the first weeks of your fall job search.
Assess and Update Your Resume
Now is the perfect time to assess your job search materials with a clear eye. Where are your weaknesses? What could you improve?
Consider adopting a new organizing strategy for your resume. If you are an entry-level applicant, you’ll want to use a skills-focused resume format that highlights abilities and knowledge gained in the classroom as well as early workplace experiences like internships. If you’re shifting careers or seeking a job after a gap in employment, consider employing a functional resume that foregrounds your accomplishments and skills rather than your work chronology. Senior-level applicants should choose a traditional chronological resume format that highlights achievements with specific examples and numerical evidence.
Evaluate recent job ads for the role you are seeking. Focus on skills they share and common keywords used to describe those skills. Use those keywords to describe your own skills and experience, and then tweak accordingly for each new job you seek. Because most employers use automated applicant tracking systems (ATS) to filter job candidates, using the exact wording in the job ad will help make sure your resume is seen by human eyes. If you get stuck updating your resume, consider using a resume builder, or if you’re writing a new one from scratch, consider starting off on the right foot with a resume template that’s rooted in your industry.
Update Your Cover Letter
A growing number of job applications indicate that a cover letter is optional. Send one anyway. A cover letter gives you the opportunity to show your flare as a writer and effectiveness as a communicator. It can also fill in gaps in your resume.
Using the same list of keywords you’ve compiled from researching past job descriptions in your field, craft a cover letter that tells a very brief story – aim for 200 words total – about how you are uniquely positioned to help your next employer achieve their goals. In the first sentence of your cover letter, refer to yourself by the job title you are seeking, and use keywords to describe the assets you will bring to the role.
Reconnect and Network
Start making lists of people you know at companies where you might want to work. While the weather is still nice, set up times to reconnect with old colleagues, classmates, and friends. As you’re catching up, ask if their companies are hiring.
Focus on expanding your online network as well. Work on reaching out to past colleagues and classmates and adding them to your social networks, especially LinkedIn. Recent data shows that over 90 percent of recruiters use social media, and especially LinkedIn, to evaluate candidates. Spruce up your LinkedIn profile with a new picture and new keywords to describe your skills and accomplishments.
Manage Your Time
Use this downtime to build time into your fall job search calendar. Consider that applicant pools tend to be filtered and openings filled before Thanksgiving, and work backward from there to create a window of time.
As autumn approaches and social calendars start to fill up, accept as many invitations to alumni events and community and industry events in your area as you can to reconnect with old classmates and colleagues.
Launch Your Fall Job Search
In the first few weeks following Labor Day, contact people who might not have gotten back to you before summer. Use the summer as an excuse to send an email or make a phone call: “Now that the summer is over I thought I’d get back in touch….”
Using your revamped professional summary from your revised resume, refresh your elevator pitch. Splurge on a new interview outfit item, even it’s a new tie or scarf, that makes you feel confident and full of energy. When hiring managers are back from vacation and ready to make new hires, you’ll be ready, looking your best and primed to talk about how you can help them their bottom line.
Content Provided by Live Career
About the Author:
Since 2005, LiveCareer has been developing tools that have helped over 10 million users build stronger resumes, write persuasive cover letters, and develop better interview skills. Land the job you want faster using our resume examples and resume samples, writing guides, and free, easy-to-use resume builder.