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Job Hunting In Summer Mark Swartz, M.B.A. M.Ed.

About the Author

Mark Swartz, MBA, M.Ed., is Canada's Career Activist. His insights reach millions yearly as the Workopolis.com Career Advisor, as author of the best seller "Get Wired, You're Hired," also as a professional speaker and coach on career/work issues. A former Toronto Star careers columnist, Mark's advice is forthright and practical. For Canada's biggest directory of free career articles, and for personalized coaching, please visit www.CareerActivist.com.

Question: Hi Mark. I'm noticing that I've started getting fewer replies lately to the resumes I'm sending out. Could this be because summer is starting and people aren't hiring as much? If so, what can I do to make sure I still get considered for jobs, because I really do need a new one even if things are slowing down.

Darryl Y., Shawnigan, Quebec
Dear Darryl,

It's true in general that there tend to be times of the year that are either more active, or less so, for hiring. Typically the periods between January 15 to June 15, and September 15 to December 15, are peak. That's because during those times there are fewer people on vacation, and you don't run into the summer lull or Christmas break.

This being said, I myself am proof that there are many exceptions to this rule. I once got hired for a full-time job in a big advertising agency on December 21. The next night I was invited to their extravagant holiday party high atop a glitzy hotel in Toronto's downtown. Granted I got fired two months later, but let's not dwell on the minutiae. Another time I began a job just a few days after the July 1st weekend. Everybody in the office was tanned -- and more than a few of my new colleagues were seriously hung over from Canada Day festivities (though not me, of course).

Hiring cycles also depend on the industry or profession you're in. For instance, summer is a great time to look for seasonal work. Amusement parks, lawn and pool care, camps etc. are adding staff like crazy.

In terms of full-time work, what happens between now and September is that people start taking their one and two week vacations. Also hot days and sunshine can make folks think a bit more about leisure than putting their noses to the grindstone, though again this is an obvious generalization that may not hold true in a whole lot of cases.

In any event, does this mean that your job search efforts should grind to a halt as July makes its debut? Not at all. Yes, you may find it takes longer for employers to make hiring decisions, especially if they need to consult with several of their staff first, and some of those people are away on holiday. But this only means that offers can, and sometimes do, get delayed. But believe me, if an organization really needs someone right away, they'll still do everything they can to make it happen.

What I often advise my clients to do is network intensively during the summer months. While it may be more difficult to get hold of people due to scheduling issues, when you do manage to meet someone face to face it's amazing how responsive they can be. This is particularly true with people who work in places where there's a bit of a slowdown in July and August. It may be easier to get someone who is normally hyper-busy to spend a little time with you when they aren't so hard pressed. Also some employers offer half days on Fridays, so their employees might be more available during that time. And the nice weather can work in your favour: since it may give the people you network with an excuse to meet you, say, for a chilled beverage at an outdoor café.

So don't let up in your search, Darryl. The contacts that you make in the next few months will pave the way for success when the wheels of commerce begin to churn in full again come September. And hey, you never know -- summer may just prove to be your lucky time to get that much sought out offer.

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