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“Summertime, and the living is easy…”. Sure, if you’re settled in a job and perhaps even getting ready to go on vacation. If so, a person could be forgiven for believing that the living is indeed easy. If, on the other hand, you are looking for work or to change jobs, it’s likely that “Hot town, summer in the city, back of my neck getting dirty and gritty” more accurately describes your feelings about summer. Summer may actually be the second most difficult period to search for work (after the Christmas holiday season), primarily because there’s more competition in the market (students on break) and decision makers are harder to track down.
That said, there is one job search tool that can help relieve the stress: Networking. Summer may be the second best networking season (again, after the Christmas holiday season). The weather and extended daylight hours allow organizations to schedule a wider variety of events. As well, people are more active socially during summer. Here, then, are six simple summer networking tactics that will help you get hired.
Say howdy. Summer is a great time to check in with all of your social media contacts (you do use more than one, right?). Spend some time on LinkedIn to see if any of your valued professional contacts, mentors, even potential employers, have posted any updates. If so, those updates provide an excellent opportunity to reconnect and establish a fresh line of communication. Similarly, use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, etc., for excuses to reach out to people you haven’t contacted in some time.
Plan the plan. We understand that you want to get hired, preferably sooner than later. It may not, however, be possible to network with all of your relevant social media contacts immediately, so set up a schedule for future communication and events.
Volunteer. Summer is chock full of opportunities to volunteer at outdoor events. These are usually well attended and, let’s face it, people are almost always in a great mood. What better environment to meet people and make a positive impression? You might be surprised at how effectively a pleasant personality combined with a chance to do good for others can establish a meaningful connection.
Dress for success? First you have to dress to impress. Casual business wear is usually permissible throughout summer, especially in locales where heat and humidity reign (and perhaps rain!). However, remember that networking is still business. Tank tops, swim trunks, “Coachella onesies”, cutoffs, and bare midriffs, to name a few, are out. Out. Yes, even if you’re attending a backyard barbecue and think you can wear just about anything doesn’t mean you should. Ask yourself this: Are you there for the brats and beer or to try to get hired? Dressing inappropriately isn’t very different from a wardrobe malfunction so consider your clothing choices carefully.
Attend. Attend. Attend. Spend some time online searching the websites of your alumni association, industry publications, local Chamber of Commerce and the like for networking events. And then go to them. It’s not only who you know, it’s how many you know, that may ultimately be the final piece that enables you to get hired.
Take me out to the ballgame. As you become more familiar with your professional contacts, pay attention to what they like. Networking doesn’t require a group outing to be successful-inviting a mentor, for example, to a baseball game or other event where you can have a relaxed, informal conversation, is a great way to build a solid relationship.