How to Search, Job Search

Why you should search for a job during the summer

Photo credit: ollyy, Shutterstock

Photo credit: ollyy, Shutterstock

Think it’s futile to look for a job in the summer? While it seems intuitive that employers would slow down their recruitment efforts in the hot months to avoid competing with vacations, summer Fridays, and the occasional donning of flip-flops in the office, experts say the opposite.

The data here supports it, too—check out this comparison of new jobs posted to Idealist in the winter and summer months last year:

  • December 1, 2011 – March 1, 2012: 546
  • June 1, 2012 – September 1, 2012: 876

That’s 38% more new jobs on view in the summer! Who’da thunk?

Why hire in the summer?

Everyone has their reasons, but for many employers, hiring in the summer has several perks:

  • For organizations who experience a fall boom (like those focused on education), it’s ideal to hire and train any new staff members in the summer so they’re ready for action right after Labor Day weekend.
  • As work-from-home, flextime, and other nontraditional models for the workday continue to proliferate, more and more people are eschewing one long vacation a year for a day off here and there instead. Consequently, summer schedules in some offices don’t actually differ much anymore from other seasons, so there’s no reason not to keep the hiring ball rolling.
  • Organizations who are open to relocating new staff often find summer moves easier, especially when the new employee is moving with the whole family, since kids don’t have to switch schools in the middle of the year. Plus the pace of work is generally a bit more relaxed, allowing more time and headspace for onboarding.

Job seeker benefits

You stand to get something out of looking for a job in the summer, too:

  • The luxury of time. Hiring managers and others involved in the hiring process might be less pressed for time in the summer months and therefore able to give your candidacy a little extra attention.

  • Beating the rush. The myth that looking for work in the summer isn’t worth a job seeker’s time is still somewhat pervasive. By getting the jump on the fall rush, you’ll see all the jobs your fellow seekers missed when they were hanging out on the beach.

  • More short-term work. Due to vacations, sabbaticals, and project cycles, summer is prime time for seasonal opportunities and picking up contract, project-based, and other short-term work. You may ultimately be looking for a full-time gig, but if a good opportunity presents itself, you might still consider going for it, especially if you’ve had a hard time finding exactly what you want in the full-time sphere. Short-terming it can be a great way to make new connections (and some cash), and contracts can unexpectedly be renewed for any number of reasons.

Job seeker tips

Great—now you’re all fired up for a sizzling summer job search. Just keep these tips in mind:

  • Be patient. Because of wildly varying summer schedules in some workplaces, the interview process can take longer at every stage, so understand that you might need to wait a bit for a call back or a reply email. But don’t take a holiday from your own due diligence: keep track of the days between correspondence and follow up with polite reminders when appropriate.

  • Shine up your candidacy. As you’re searching, remember that you can also use summer downtime to great effect by updating your resume, taking a class to learn a new skill, or attending a conference or seminar to keep yourself apprised of the latest in your field.

  • Network like it’s 1999. Summer is a great season for networking—from informational interviews and formal gatherings like those you can find through sites like Green Drinks, Meetup, and of course Idealist, to the impromptu conversations you can only find yourself in when you leave the house to go for a walk. Approach every new chat—whether with your table neighbor at the outdoor cafe or the person in front of you in the wedding conga line—as one you could be having with your next employer or coworker. Because you just might be!

Have you looked for a job in the summer—successfully or not? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.

1 Comment

  1. Erica

    I have found some positions before the summer really kicked off. At other times not so much so. Many of the positions that was I selected for were temporary positions, but I look at what experience I will or have taking away for the opportunities that had presented themselves. I enjoyed that article and I think the advice is very informational and really give job seekers a inside look at what goes on in the hiring process and why the process may take awhile.

    Thanks for the information, I hope many others will read this article and become just as informed as I did.