Taking The Summer Off From Job Hunting Is A Big Mistake
by David Pastore, Managing Editor
Mary, a former sales cordinator recently said, “So many other laid- off folks are taking the summer off. They are getting unemployment so they can coast by and I think I’m going to do that too.”
Tina is a mother of two kids ages five and seven. She recently separated from her husband and said, “It’s too stressful to look for a job on top of all the divorce negotiations and figuring out childcare, so I’ll wait until my kids go back to school. They’ll be gone all day once school restarts and I’ll look for work then.”
Mark just finished his Bachelor’s Degree and got his parents’ okay to take the summer off and play before he launches his career. “After all,” he said, “I have my whole life to work.”
The warm sunshine is a major lure to everyone and it’s very tempting to put your job search on the back burner and wait until September rolls around. But it’s a significant mistake to take a ten-week, or any other vacation for the following reasons:
- You’re just delaying a long search process. It’s taking many people six to nine months – and even longer – to find a new position. The later you start, the longer it will take.
- You’ll miss good opportunities. Many city, state and federal governments, plus colleges, schools and non-profit organizations operate on a fiscal year that starts on July 1st. New budgets become available and many employment contracts end, providing significant openings during June, July and August. By mid-September their window for hiring is closed. So summer is the time to actively look and apply for these jobs. And many private sector jobs are recruiting right now to be fully staffed for the critical September – December selling season.
- It’ll be more crowded come September. With thousands of others following the “summer off” strategy, you’ll find an even more competitive job market. This may make it a long delay until you begin working again. Use summer social gatherings with friends and neighbors to arrange for networking contacts. 63% of all jobs were found through contacts last year, so stay active and network, network, network.
- Also, if you are not applying for jobs every week, you are not meeting the legal requirments for unemployment benefits and if you claim them while “taking time off” you may need to repay those benefits, pay penalties, and lose your eligibility for future benefits.