If you are in career transition—especially if it is the first time in your career–you are tempted to take the summer off and roll up your sleeves after Labor Day.
Don’t do it.
It is alluring because you desperately need a break from the 9-to-5 mantra of the past couple of decades. You may want to spend time with your children, improve your golf game or perhaps participate in some charity work that’s been out of reach because of your demanding work schedule.
I am not suggesting that you spend every waking moment during the summer pounding the pavement, poring over job boards or smiling and dialing with recruiters.
I am suggesting, however, that this is an ideal opportunity to begin your strategic job search for so many reasons.
Why it is strategic:
- Your competitors are at the beach or the cottage. Beat them to the start line by launching now.
- Workforce planning begins in the summer in preparation for busy fall budget season and you likely remember that budget planning begins during Q3 and finalized in Q4. Timing is everything.
- Hiring is on the rise. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics for June 9, 2015, “The number of job openings rose to 5.4 million on the last day of April, the highest since the series began in December 2000.”
- Get into the organization before that job is advertised and save the employer recruiting fees, time and position yourself for a better salary since there is no other competition.
Things you can do right away (from the cottage):
- Identify your targeted companies. Did you know that according to a survey completed by Career Xroads, only between 1.9 and 30% of companies use job boards to source employees? How will those companies find you if you don’t know they’re looking?
- See if companies have an employee referral program. Career Xroads research also says of Employee Referral Programs that of new hires, 20 – 40% of candidates are hired via employee referrals and those candidates are 4x more likely to be hired if they have a personal referral.
- Connect with individuals you may know in that organization. Use LI or other corporate sleuthing methods to uncover individuals in your network who will have insight that will never be posted on LI or the corporate website.
- Don’t overlook the old-fashioned telephone as a means of connecting with individuals in your network. Voicemail can be a powerful tool if you use it correctly.
- Uncover organizations that interest you rather than waiting for job opportunities to be advertised. Up to 95% of jobs are never advertised. This positions you at a tremendous competitive advantage over other job seekers using job boards to find their next opportunity.
- Identify decision-makers and ensure they know your plans and aspirations. Follow up with them at least 5 times rather than the traditional 3 times.
- Continue to connect with the organization. Read the news, press releases. Find your voice and position yourself as the “perfect” Technology Director, CFO, VP Finance or [insert your ideal title here].
According to a SHRM (Society of Human Resources Management) survey company respondents were asked to give their opinion about the level of promotion their organizations give to employee referral programs.
Slightly less than one-half of respondents (48%) indicated that their organizations promoted or extremely promoted the employee referral program. This means that a majority of companies do not actively promote their referral programs. Ask your contact at the targeted firm if they use this practice because they may not be aware of a program that puts you back to work and puts money in their pocket.
Think strategy as you plan your job search at the cottage this summer. If you do the heavy lifting now, you will reap the rewards by being head and shoulders above your competition after Labor Day.