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NAVIGATING THE SUMMER JOB MARKET

by Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC

Most people believe summer is the worst time to conduct a job search. Between college students and high school students eating up the market, vacations, lagging budgets, etc. hiring would seem to lag during the summer making it a bad time to conduct a job search. In reality, summer is a very good time to job hunt. Here are some tips to make your summer-time job search more effective:

— Spiff up your telephone skills. With people on vacation, you will be receiving more voice mail messages than usual as you try to reach people in your job search network. Always make calls with a notepad or organizer nearby and take note of when your contacts will be back in the office. Set an email up to be delivered the day *after* the person’s return and set a reminder to call again the second day after he/she returns.

Make sure you leave a clear, informative voice mail. Make sure you state your name twice, your telephone number twice, and your message once. Give a good time for a call-back. The following is a general formula for an effective voice mail.

“Hello <FIRST NAME OF CALLEE>, this is <YOUR NAME>. My number is XXX-XXX-XXXX. I am calling because <COMPLETE MESSAGE>. The best time to get back in touch with me is <DAY, TIME, TIME ZONE>. Again, this is <YOUR NAME> and my number is XXX-XXX-XXXX. Thank you!”

Always include your area code with your telephone number. Many times, people cannot return calls because they are not sure where the caller is calling from. Giving your time zone helps the recipient of the message know where you are located and helps them know exactly when to call you back. Speak slowly and clearly, especially if English is not your native tongue. Spell your name if the spelling is not easily recognizable. Provide more than one number if possible and repeat both of them twice.

-Take advantage of summer social activities for your search. Most jobs are filled through word-of-mouth. That means the more people with whom you talk, the more effective your search. Summertime is chock-full of social activities from picnics to family reunions to ball games. Make the most of gatherings of people to gather information for your search and extend your network toward your target companies.

- Volunteer. Summer seems packed with opportunities to volunteer. Volunteering not only gains additional network contacts for your search but it has many emotional rewards, too. Looking for a job, especially for those who have been engaged in long searches (more than 3 months) is emotionally exhausting. The warm fuzzies you receive from volunteering go a long way toward boosting your mental attitude.

- Be persistent. Since many job seekers slack off in the summer thinking they are wasting their time, your competition is less. Take advantage of that and redouble your efforts in your search.


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