Posters advertising summer job opportunities. Photo by: a loves dc / CC BY

For those of us in the northern hemisphere, summer is well underway. In Washington, where I reside, this means days are so humid that going outside can feel like stepping into one big steam shower. It also means lighter traffic, empty restaurants and plentiful parking.

As the “out of office” email responses start flying in, it becomes increasingly obvious that the working world is on vacation. Especially in more vacation-leave generous places like Europe, some offices virtually shut down during the months of July and August. But what if you are a job seeker — should you put your job search on hold, too?

With hiring managers and recruiters away on leave and many duties passed on to summer interns, hiring can often be put on the back burner. Here are eight tips for managing your job search when it feels like everyone is away at the beach.

  1. While hiring typically slows down during the summer, so do applications. Employers aren’t the only ones on vacation, candidates are too. So while there may be fewer jobs posted overall, you are likely to face less competition, too.

  2. One of the reasons hiring slows down is because summer interns can help buy time by filling vacancies. Some employers wait to see if they want to hire any of their interns permanently. Internships typically end in late August, so be prepared to keep an eye out for new job opportunities in late August and September.

  3. Summer is a great time to brush up your resume. Use the time you would spend on submitting job applications to give your resume an overhaul. That way, you will be ready to bite when hiring ramps up again. Watch Devex webinars like ”Development CVs that make a difference” or ”Extreme CV makeover” for tips on how to best present your skills. Or consider engaging one of our expert CV writers with the Devex CV Writing service.

  4. Spend this time researching potential employers that align with your skills, interests and values. (You can search career profiles of thousands of employers with a Devex Career Account). Set up job alerts on Devex so you will be notified as soon as they do have new postings. 

  5. Don’t wait until these employers post a job. Contact them proactively so you are already on their radar when they have new openings. Here are some tips for asking for an informational interview.   

  6. With a lot of people out on vacation, those left behind often have more flexibility (not as many meetings to work around!) and could be available for informational interviews, coffee or an early after-work drink.  People in the summer are often calmer, happier and looking for excuses to get out of the office and into the sunshine. This is a great time to reach out to your network and see who is around!

  7. Hiring decisions can take longer to make during the summer. Often, there are multiple stakeholders who need to weigh in on a new hire. Juggling vacation schedules can make it challenging for employers to come to a consensus as quickly as when everyone is in the office. Be patient as you wait to hear back on your application status.

  8. Take a break yourself. Looking for a job can often feel like a full-time job itself. Take a vacation or if that isn’t financially feasible, just take a few days “mental break.” Use that time to re-evaluate your career goals and then come back to your search with a refreshed sense of purpose.

Have any tips for our members on getting that first job in the field? Please leave them as comments below. Tweet me your career questions at @DevexCareers — your question may just be the focus of an upcoming Career Matters blog post. You can also subscribe to my video blog on YouTube.

About the author

  • Kate Warren

    Kate Warren is Executive Vice President and resident talent and careers guru at Devex. With 15 years of global development recruitment experience advising international NGOs, consulting firms, and donor agencies, she has a finger on the pulse of hiring trends across the industry and insider knowledge on what it takes to break in.