Data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) confirms that summer is one of the busiest times of year for job hunting, and that certainly backs up my own experience as a recruiter – generally June to July means non-stop emails and phone calls, thousands of new resumes dumped on my desk and an almost constant barrage of inquires.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that people applying for new career over the summer don’t stand a chance though. As long as you make sure the basics are covered, and pay close attention to the following 5 tips, you should have a decent chance of standing head and shoulders above the competition.
1. Don’t fall into the trap of relying on a traditional resume
One of the things we’re seeing more and more are clever, innovative takes on the standard resume – one particular example that springs to mind is the fantastic Lego-kit resume that was featured across the web, but we get plenty of infographic resumes, resumes that incorporate really powerful graphics and even the occasional video resume now.
Don’t be afraid to take a risk and create something unorthodox; you might actually be very surprised at how much attention it garners.
2. Dress up, even if it is scorching outside
Just because it’s 90 degrees in the shade doesn’t mean you can suddenly ditch the jacket and tie – when you turn up for an interview, it’s essential that you look the part.
I can’t count the times that I’ve heard clients complain that prospective employees “seem to forget that interviews are a serious business”, and since it’s impossible to tell how a potential employer will react to your decision to dress in chinos or slacks, Id always, always advise that you err on the side of caution.
3. Stay healthy
This one always raises some eyebrows, but there’s no shortage of studies to show that dehydration can seriously affect your performance in high-pressure situations, including interviews. Don’t run the risk of letting the summer sun dehydrate you – drink plenty of water, and make sure that you stay well rested.
There’s no doubt that interviews are one of the most stressful events we will ever experience, but allowing that stress to disrupt your normal routine can (and will) destroy your ability to perform.
4. Don’t be afraid to reach out to an agency
A lot of people view recruitment agencies as huge and unapproachable corporate machines, but the simple truth of the matter is that they’re run and managed by human beings that aren’t dissimilar to yourself – rather than firing resumes out to every company you can find, it might be worth your while reaching out to a single local recruitment agency, just to see what they can do for you instead.
Chances are, they’ll like the fact that you were proactive, and do everything in their power to place you in a relevant position.
5. Get outdoors
There’re no shortage of studies out there showing that people are much, much more amicable towards you if you meet them in a social setting first, and guess what? Summer is the perfect time to get out there and make connections. Community parties, events and galas are all ideal places to spend some time if your looking to bump into a potential employer, and they provide no shortage of networking opportunities so get out there and enjoy the sunshine!
Remember to keep it casual though – it’s one thing to mention that you’re looking for a job, another thing entirely to start bombarding people with your resume while they’re trying to unwind.
Sean Manderton is a dedicated HR consultant with a sincere passion for helping people to achieve their career dreams. He’s currently writing on behalf of Blue Octopus, a UK-based digital recruitment company.