Summertime often conjures up images of sipping Mai Tais under an umbrella on the beach, but many Americans use the season to amp up their job search. Unfortunately, the labor market becomes even more competitive during summer months, making it more difficult for qualified job seekers to find work. According to a new study by job board website TheLadders, 60% of all job seekers find their summer search to be “harder,” and 71% say that employers are “less responsive” during the season.
“Job searches spike around January because of New Year’s resolutions and again in the fall when the kids are going back to school. Typically, the summer months are when people have a lull in their job search activity,” says Amanda Augustine, job search expert at TheLadders. “However, in the summer, the process takes a bit longer because people are working half days on summer Fridays, they’re taking long vacations, and the responses just aren’t coming as quickly.”
According to the survey, from June through August, 44% of job seekers say they are “more active” in their search and 45% say that the field is overall “more competitive” during this time.
“If you’re unemployed, we recommend working 35 to 40 hours per week on your search. If you have a job, we recommend working 15 to 20 hours per week. When we tell people that they sometimes look at us like we have a second head, but you have to be consistent,” Augustine recommends.
Applicants are more likely to be disgruntled or upset during the summer months because they aren’t hearing back as quickly as they would expect. “Keep in mind that the key decision makers may be out on the beach. If competition seems stiff it’s because the hiring managers simply aren’t around to make those calls,” she says. “You’re waiting longer to hear back on whether it’s a ‘yay’ or a ‘nay.’
But Augustine adds job seekers should not be discouraged if they don’t hear back in a timely fashion.
“If you don’t hear back immediately, don’t assume, ‘I’ve been beaten out by others.’ The HR person who has to send you the paperwork may be out on vacation for two weeks, so it’s perfectly normal that you wouldn’t hear anything.”