June 20, 2012 – Looking for a way to gain an edge over the competition in a very tight job market? Step up your job search during the summer, instead of slowing it down or putting it on hold, according to OI Partners.

Even with the more leisurely pace of summer, the third calendar quarter (July, August and September) has consistently accounted for about 25% of all hires annually for the past 10 years – with an average of 17% of hiring occurring in July and August, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“July and August are prime-time hiring and interviewing months for many employers. When companies get new business mid-year or later, this can collide with past-due work and both demand hands on board now,” said Patty Prosser, chair of OI Partners, a global coaching and leadership development and consulting firm.

Some of the benefits of heating up your search during summer include:

  • Timing. July begins the third business quarter for many companies, and others start their fiscal years in July. Some have budgeted to hire additional people and are looking for qualified candidates now.
  • Less competition. Fewer people will generally be competing for available jobs. “There is a misconception that hiring ceases or businesses shut down the entire summer. Hiring managers are taking shorter vacations, especially in an economy when every sale matters, and then it’s back to business, including filling vacancies and adding staff,” said Prosser.
  • Just-in-time hiring. Many employers are now implementing “just in time hiring.” “Similar to the same approach used in inventory, employers are carrying less inventory of people. When the need arises, they begin the hiring process, even during summer,” said Prosser.
  • Fewer distractions. Summer’s quieter pace affords managers more time to concentrate on resumes and candidates.

Here are some ways you can maximize your summer job search, according to OI Partners.

  • Use other people’s vacation time to your advantage. “Offer to cover for vacationing employees as a way to get your foot in the door of potential employers,” said Prosser.
  • Capitalize on seasonal events. Barbecues, picnics, pool parties, reunions, and other events are perfect times to let people know you are looking. “Use caution, however, since this is best if done low key. Do not come on too strong at social events. These activities are most appropriate for giving a 15-second overview of who you are, what you’re looking for, and requesting a future networking meeting or follow-up phone call,” said Prosser.
  • Use your own vacation for making contacts. Incorporate your search into your vacation. Carry your personal calling cards and network with people you meet at your usual summertime destinations. Or, plan your vacation around potential places to which you may want to relocate, get a better feel for these areas and network with people there.
  • Arrange networking meetings. As business slows during the summer, you may be able to network with contacts who were too busy earlier in the year. Face-to-face networking is the most effective job-search method, accounting for about 70 percent of hiring.
  • Volunteer as summer staff for children’s, educational and non-profit groups. “Volunteering can help improve your network and enable those thinking about switching careers to gain experience in areas they are interested in but do not have the skills to be hired,” said Prosser.
  • Form a new networking group. Some job counseling and networking groups slow down or take off for the summer. Form your own group with your contacts and share information about who is hiring.
  • Sharpen your brand and unique value proposition. “Use the summer to focus on how to differentiate your ‘brand’ – what makes you different, and how you can make an impact on a potential employer. Polish your verbal resume so that people you meet will instantly get a clear picture of you and your goals,” said Prosser.
  • Use social media. “LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter can help you line up in-person networking meetings. Make new LinkedIn connections at targeted employers to discover the inside information about their needs and the types of people they want,” Prosser added.
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