Just like the ocean waves, hiring is a process with peaks (fall and spring) and troughs (summer and winter). Certainly, some hiring occur during the troughs, but fewer than the peaks. During the slower periods, I advise people to actively set aside time to self-reflect. Consider what you want, need, and prefer in your next role, team, and company, so that you are focused and prepared to seize the right opportunity once hiring picks up.
Every summer, I talk with numerous people who all ask (in a worried tone), “why am I not finding roles or being asked to interview”? Many of these people have incredible backgrounds and experience relevant to a variety of roles. My response: the “summer slowdown.” Simply put, hiring managers, HR people, and others, at a company are on vacation. Therefore interviews are difficult to schedule and feedback is hard to obtain in a timely manner to move the hiring process along.
The “summer slowdown” presents a unique opportunity for candidates considering a career or company change. Candidates should use this time to engage in informational interviews, since the people they are looking to connect with may also have more time for coffee, lunch, or a phone call. During these conversations, candidates can learn about companies and roles, as well as skillsets needed to excel in a new opportunity. This information will help develop a career search plan, and also provide much needed information to spruce up (or totally revise) a resume.
This time is the perfect opportunity to develop and build out a professional and detailed LinkedIn profile (which can be searched by HR and hiring managers). Add a summary section, details about work experience, educational background, professional associations and other information (i.e. papers and publications). Developing a full profile usually takes a few iterations, so the time allows you to gather feedback from your contacts and revise as needed.
Candidates should also cultivate their network to connect/re-connect with industry and career relevant individuals i.e. college and grad school classmates, former co-workers, and personal connections from groups like running clubs or charities. Use the slowdown for coffee, lunch, picnics, or calls. Learn about what your contacts are up to. Maybe you can be helpful to them as well. Develop a “target company” list with categories such as “relevant” i.e. companies related to your background, “interested in” i.e. companies that you want to learn more about, and “work for” i.e. companies that you want to work for. Usually the “relevant list” is much larger (i.e. 50 companies) than the “work for” list (i.e. 5 companies). This process can take weeks or months, so starting when you have time to devote to it is very worthwhile.
Preparing yourself during the downtimes will allow you to make the most of the hiring surges. Hiring can happen quickly, within 3-4 weeks from post of job to offer given, so you want to make sure you can hit the ground running when the right opportunity comes your way.