It happens every year: around the 4th of July, job searching across the board slows down dramatically as companies deal with rolling summer vacations. Unlike December when very few positions are being posted, the summer slump does not impact the amount of jobs. Instead, the slow-down hits the recruitment process itself within the companies.
So, what is an eager job seeker to do?
Check these tips to keep your job search moving forward, even when the company is stalled out.
- Understand what is happening
During other times of the year, the typical turn-around time for HR to schedule interviews after the job is posted can be anywhere between one to three weeks (large corporations and government jobs will probably take longer.) However, in summer, this can stretch out to two to four weeks or more, including for the initial phone interview. Similarly, time between the different interviews – such as the phone interview vs. the in-person meeting – can be drawn out from one to three weeks longer than the spring or fall hiring seasons.
The reason? Vacations.
And it’s not just the vacations of the HR or the recruiters. Hiring managers are also sneaking away from the office, which not only slows down the interviews, it can impact how quickly jobs are getting posted. After all, in most cases, HR won’t post the job without the hiring manager signing off on the job description. If they are at Disneyworld, that’s not going to happen immediately.
While it can be frustrating, the best thing a job seeker can do is practice patience; however, that doesn’t mean your efforts should be minimalized.
2. Fix up your resume, LinkedIn, and letters
Anytime there is a slow-down in the job searching process, take the time to review your resume, LinkedIn, and other supplemental documents like cover letters to make sure they are sending the right message. Part of that is conducting a current keyword analysis to double-check that you are highlighting the right skills, experience, education, and achievements to survive the screening process. Remember, keywords do change over time, so always pull recent job postings to stay on top of emerging trends.
3. Apply quickly to HR but take your time in reaching out to hiring managers
No matter what job you are seeking, I always recommend a two-prong attack: apply through HR to prove that you are a good boy or girl who can follow written instructions. Then spend most of your time tracking down hiring managers and getting your resume into their hands.
Timing matters here:
- You have 2-5 business days to get your resume into HR before they start screening candidates
- You have 2 days to 2 weeks to get your resume into the hiring manager’s hands
Hiring managers won’t see the stack of selected candidates from HR until 1-3 weeks AFTER the job is posted. Even then, they are still interested in seeing people that HR might have screened out.
Yes, hiring managers really DO want to hear from candidates. In many cases, they are just as frustrated with HR as the job seekers. They know what they need, but HR screens on keywords. Big difference.
Since we know the hiring cycle is delayed because of vacations, take the extra time to track down those managers and make a real connection.
4. Reach out to your network
The secret to effective networking is staying in touch. Send out messages to your LinkedIn connections. Get involved in the Groups. Attend summer socials for the associations and alumni groups. And don’t forget to do something nice for the most important people in your network: your friends and family.
5. Identify some target employers
The hidden job market is alive and well. You find it by paying attention to what is going on in the news. Look for company mergers, sales, relocations, announcements of winning big contracts, and other top business news. While they may not have jobs today, you can plan for future openings by gauging what their needs will be.
Don’t be scared to reach out to managers at these companies. Believe me, they are already thinking ahead to what they will need in the fall, and you just might be the perfect fit.
6. Track your results and gauge your ROI (return on investment)
How can you be certain that you are being effective if you don’t track your results? Every day, I speak to job seekers and ask them what their success rates are. Most of them can’t put that in quantifiable results. If you aren’t tracking, how do you know if you are effective – especially when HR is frequently a black hole?
Check your numbers:
- You should be landing 1-3 phone interviews for every 10 applications you submit.
- Submit 5-10 well-researched applications per week (not a shotgun approach).
- Research 3-7 companies every week, even if they don’t have job openings yet.
- Spend 20-40 hours a week on your job search, HOWEVER, only spend 1 hour a day looking at the job boards. The majority of your time is research, networking, and submitting perfect applications.
Want more tips to make the most of your job search? Check out my new book, “Get a Job Without Going Crazy (3rd Edition)” on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Get-Job-Without-Going-Crazy-ebook/dp/B07S8D538W/
Want a see how your job search strategies stacks up to the competition? Visit the Personal Touch Career Services’ website to schedule a free resume review: https://personaltouchcareerservices.com/contact