Job Search

7 Things to Do This Summer That Will Help Your Job Search

written by MICHELLE LEMA
job search checklist"
job search checklist
Source: Emily Patnaude | Dupe Photos
Source: Emily Patnaude | Dupe Photos

If you’re searching for a job right now, chances are you’ve experienced the current unpredictable chaos that is the job market. Finding a job in this market can feel like you’re in a race that has a constantly moving finish line, with ebbs and flows in which applicants must train, adapt, and wait. In many industries, the summer can feel like the biggest wait of all. Potential employers are going out of town more often and as a result, are slower to reply. You might also be trying to save money during the season. While it may seem like it’s best to wait until the fall to elevate your job search, summer can actually be the perfect time to change things up and still have some inexpensive fun.

You’ve surely heard of spring cleaning, which can manifest in many different areas of our lives, but I’m personally a fan of summer cleaning when it comes to job searches and career goals. Much like you might have done at the end of a school year, summer is a time to reflect, reorganize, and get ready for busy days ahead. This doesn’t have to mean you’re trapped indoors, either. Here are some summer activities to enjoy that will help you keep up your job search:

1.  Do a “summer cleaning” of your resume

Even if you’re tailoring your resume to every job you apply for (which is a good practice), you likely have a base resume you always start from. Summertime is the perfect moment to revisit that resume and make sure it’s current, expresses your objectives, and represents your work clearly. Take a look at each category in your resume and start “cleaning.” Make sure every description is as succinct as possible. Add any new skills you’ve picked up since you last updated it. Change up the design and layout. Since the weather is likely warmer where you are, head outside with your laptop and catch some sun while you take on these tasks. Like any form of cleaning, while it may feel like work when you do it, the reward of getting it done is worth it.

2. Look for summer internships or fellowships

No matter what stage of your career you’re in, internships, fellowships, or job shadowing might lead to a potential future opportunity. Many companies have summer internships or educational programs designed to give participants a well-rounded look at the roles and responsibilities within a field. Sometimes, internship work can be limited to applicants who are current or recent students. If this isn’t where you’re at, look for fellowships or immersive summer programs that have open applications for people at all stages of their careers. If you can’t find anything in the field you’re looking for, reach out to a mentor or someone in your network and ask if they know of any summer job shadowing opportunities. While this might not always produce results, putting yourself out there in a professional way is key to amplifying your options.

3. Apply for seasonal summer roles

There are many jobs out there that only hire and take place during the summer. (Cut to every movie you’ve ever seen that revolves around a summer camp.) While you may not have the desire to be a camp counselor for the summer, there are plenty of other opportunities to seek out during the warmer months. Be sure to check out job listings for local summer festivals, community programs, sports leagues, and outdoor activities. While the job you get in the summer may not be exactly what you’re looking for in the long run, what you will gain is new connections in your community. It’s highly likely that you’ll meet other people in the same job market and gain their support as you continue in your search.

4. Go to summer events and meet new people

Networking doesn’t always have to mean talking to someone about your goals and job skills. In fact, the best networking is when you make a genuine connection to someone in a common environment. If you’re really interested in a certain subject, artist, or field, check out the local events in your area. Some specific things to search for are: free job fairs, speaking engagements by professionals you admire, book readings or signings, or arts festivals. Many of these events have accompanying mixers that help attendees connect with other people who have the same interests. It’s a great way to grow your network and potentially learn something new in the process.

5. Meet up with former coworkers for a picnic

Your coworkers can often become family, especially if your job requires spending long hours together. When we leave jobs, it can feel like we’re losing an important part of our community. We can especially miss this connection when we’re looking for a new job. If you’re feeling this way, it might be time to reach out to your favorite former coworkers. Do this by hosting a summer reunion in a park or outdoor public space. You can make it casual and inexpensive by having everyone bring their own drinks and snacks. While you catch up, you might learn that some of your former coworkers are also in the job market. Or that some have moved on to new jobs with open opportunities. Most importantly, a coworker reunion will warm your job-searching heart as you spend time with people you once loved working with.

6. Volunteer for a good cause

Sometimes, we can enter job search overload, even if the days are getting warmer and longer. Constantly applying for jobs, writing cover letters, and preparing for interviews can take a toll. While we’re tackling these tasks, it can be easy to ruminate about the future. If this sounds like you and you’re in need of a reset, try volunteering for a good cause you’re passionate about. There are many programs that need extra help in the summer, whether that be through community work, local outdoor spaces, or summer school programs. While this might not seem like it’s contributing directly to your job search, doing something productive to help others is always worthwhile, no matter what your goals are. Setting the time aside to volunteer might even help you reframe your outlook and gain inspiration for your next steps.

7. Reset your goals while you take on an outdoor activity

Taking advantage of warm weather activities like hiking, biking, or walking can be a great time to ponder your goals and reset your job search tactics. As we all know by now, moving your body and being out in the sunshine helps to stimulate your mood, mind, and imagination. Getting outside is especially helpful when you’re in a period of change, like when you don’t know at what point you’ll land your next job. While you’re moving, take some time to think about your goals. Perhaps it’s time to search for jobs in a different way, like trying the examples above. Or, maybe you’re contemplating several careers and want to decide which one is the best fit to pursue. Give yourself the time and space to contemplate these things while you enjoy all that summer has to offer. It’s sometimes in these spaces, far away from our desks, that the best ideas can emerge.