Should I take time off this Fourth of July week and take it easy on my search for the summer? After all, no one's around.
I hear this comment mostly during the summer - and then frequently in early November, when clients and students say it's pointless to look for a transition during the holiday season (Seven weeks? Really?). I've even heard people say that period starts at Halloween.
Wrong. On both counts. It's an excuse, and a myth. The excuse part is that it's awfully hard to keep up the discipline during the summer or holiday periods, when everyone else seems to be having a great time, or celebrating something. Why not take some time off? Do all the organizations close during those periods? Do companies stop their functions? Of course not. Yes, it may be true that mid-August to early September is a tough time to look for work, for example, in financial services. And that there are other tough periods in other fields, too. But a reason to stop looking? No.
Stopping means loss of momentum. Picking up in September (or January) makes things far tougher than they need to be. Getting going is depressing. Building on momentum is far easier (if anything about transition can be called easy).
For example, if you know that many key decision makers are not around, does that mean you can't build on your networks? Or continue to do rigorous research and reading about potential targets? Or work on your group affiliations on LinkedIn? I've heard, over and over, that these slower periods are actually excellent times to meet people for relationship building. If it's late July, people may be more amenable than usual to meet with you. They frequently don't want to work, either.
My favorite reason for holiday period job search is that your competition is thinking the same things -- these are not good times to look. That means fewer people competing for information meetings and interviews.
If anyone remembers the film Kramer vs. Kramer, there was a scene where the Dustin Hoffman character goes from office party to office party during the holiday season, desperately looking for employment, and succeeds. Funny thing is I always thought of that scene as an example of the worst possible networking technique - but what I liked about it is that he succeeded in December.
I have innumerable stories about successful July/August and December job searches. Every time, the client has been surprised.
One more comment. I do not mean to imply job seekers cannot take time off. Far from it. Since job search is a full-time job, then it, too, requires vacation time and long weekends. Don't be one of those people who stares at the phone. Get away from it, periodically. Even plan time off during the day. It'll help.
Have a great Fourth of July!
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