In the world of job recruitment, as with life, seasons change. Sometimes it is a changing economy, an evolving industry, a world-wide pandemic, the summertime recruitment slump, or all of these combined. How we react to these changes is what will affect our job search progress.
When you are in need of a new job, the waiting can feel like ages. Many thoughts speed through your mind. Is it me? Did I say or do something wrong in the interview? Why aren’t they calling me back? Should I bother my recruiter again or are they on vacation? The questions, panic, and frustration are real! But the better question to ask yourself is “What can I be doing while I wait?”
For those of you stuck in the frustrating waiting moments of summertime job seeking, I offer you the sage advice of my late grandmother, “this too shall pass.” But, don’t let the time pass without bettering yourself. Here are some tips to follow:
RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH
Just because summer is quiet in the recruiting world doesn’t mean you aren’t working and learning. Research your industry, get caught up on current events, join LinkedIn groups, and read books relating to your field and/or leadership. Follow the companies you are interested in pursuing and read their latest news, watch their videos, learn more about their products and services, and research their company leadership. Also, be sure to understand their company’s financial position.
TAKE ONLINE TRAINING COURSES
Online courses abound on the internet and this is a great time to hone your skills. Find a topic that relates to your field and learn everything you can. This gives you fresh content to discuss during interviews, plus it shows that you capitalize on your time. Employers will want self-motivated employees who are up to date on the latest skills.
UPDATE YOUR RESUME, LINKEDIN PROFILE, AND PORTFOLIO
Summertime is a great time to update your resume and move your LinkedIn profile to all-star status using their suggested tips. Be sure to add any skills you have acquired and update your work experience sections with key words relating to your industry. Maybe it is time for a new photo that shows your professionalism, or maybe you need to start following companies and increasing your connections. If your field requires a portfolio to be submitted, be sure that you have your latest and greatest projects represented.
DEVELOP AND REFINE YOUR TIME TO SHINE SPEECH
One of the most important elements of an interview is how you answer the ever popular first question, “Tell me about yourself.” This is your opportunity to deliver what we call your Time to Shine Speech. This is your two to three-minute opening monologue about you and why you are a great hire. Practice this speech until it flows naturally from your lips. Don’t memorize it exactly word for word but rather remember the outline and speak it with a conversational style. Then, practice your delivery. Watch your body language, tone and intonation, and your speech pattern. Video yourself and critic your overall performance. Continue working on and refining your full presentation. This will be time well spent!
REACH OUT TO YOUR REFERENCES
Summertime is a great time to reach out to your references. You’ll want three references that can speak to your professionalism and character. A former boss, a mentor, a colleague, and/or those who have worked directly with you in some way and are upstanding in the community. Give them a call to catch up and then let them know that you are looking for a job and would like to list them as a reference. If they agree, send them your latest resume and be sure that you have their latest contact information on file. Put together a References Document listing their names, contact information, and relevance to you, and have this document ready for when a recruiter might ask you for any references.
REVIEW YOUR PERSONAL FINANCES
This is a great time to take a hard look at your personal finances. Do you need to cut some costs or make any changes? Do you need to put together a budget? One example is to call all of your service providers and renegotiate your contracts to save extra dollars. The goal is to be financially nimble so that you are able to respond to your changing situation. Getting your financial and legal house in order is always a good use of your time.
PRIORITIZE YOUR HEALTH
Lastly, work on your health. If you aren’t already doing so, start an exercise program that works for your time and budget. Walking is easy and free, and it can greatly improve your mood and calm your mind and nerves. Eat a balanced and nutritious diet so you can be your best self for when the recruiting world turns the corner to autumn.
The waiting moments can be your most powerful moments, if you use them wisely. This summer, I encourage you to harness the gift of time and improve yourself. You’ll never regret it – and you’ll be ready when the floodgates of recruiting open up once again!
By: Jessica Stuart, Founder and President of Career Xplorers
Career Xplorers offers training and resources for exploring careers, learning soft skills, and preparing for job interviews. We work with clients of all ages, from students to executives, offering career coaching and job interview training.