In two months time, thousands of job-hungry graduates will descend on what’s already shaping up to be a fairly competitive summer job market; making it even harder for those of us with a desire for career shifts, or those of us looking for that elusive first break.
Don’t let yourself get caught up in the rush – in all the years I’ve spent as a careers consultant and HR exec, I’ve never seen a quiet summer, and it’d be incredibly foolish to think that you won’t be putting yourself at a massive disadvantage by applying late.
Get ahead instead – both by applying as early as you possible can, and by following these five simple tips for making an impact this summer:
1. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone
There’s no shortage of surveys out there to show that people appreciate a human touch, and I can’t personally count the times that I’ve heard clients tell me how nice it is when a prospective employee actually takes the time to ring them up.
Remember – sending out that same tired .pdf isn’t going to win you any favors nowadays; it takes a little bit more than that to stand out in a crowd. Of course, I’m not suggesting that you pick up the phone and ring people just for the sake of it – this little trick only really works if you can come up with a genuine enquiry, but even if all your doing is asking for clarification, or double checking that you have the required experience, you’ll still have landed yourself with an opportunity to really stand out, and that does count for something.
2. Don’t let the summer heat ruin your chances
Summer is, unsurprisingly, the warmest time of year, and therefore the worst when it comes to pressurized performance in an interview setting. Make sure you stay properly hydrated, and drink plenty of water – otherwise you run the very serious risk of letting your concentration run amok
3. Don’t be afraid to stand out in a crowd
It’s summer time, which means you can get away with being slightly more proactive when it comes to your appearance. Next time you attend a careers fair, or call in at the office for an interview, make sure you’re well groomed, and wearing some attire that actually flatters you; you’d be shocked to hear the amount of importance most employers place on first appearances!
4. Set yourself apart – skip the holiday and buckle down
This one’s controversial, but important – if you’re coming straight out of university, or you’re seriously considering a career change this summer, you can give yourself a serious leg-up by applying in early July. This is the quietest point of the summer for most recruitment agencies, because most people jet off on holiday before starting their search. Providing that you can do without, skipping this year’s holiday might lend you a substantial advantage!
5. Don’t be afraid to network in unconventional ways
I met a new prospect at a garden party last week – strange but true. The summer months tend to make everyone more sociable, which can provide a lot of unique opportunities for networking. Instead of sitting inside and blasting off cv’s, you might want to consider heading off to a nearby beer garden/festival/lunch event to see if you can’t happen across a potential lead. Many agencies, including mine, love attracting clients and prospects like this as it pretty much guarantees that you’ll be working with sociable and innovative people
About the author: Sean Manderton is an experienced HR consultant with a real passion for out-of-the-box thinking. He’s currently writing on behalf of http://www.blueoctopus.co.uk.