During the summer months, driving momentum in a job search can feel like an uphill battle. With 1/3 of the population on vacation during any given week, things naturally slow down.

Candidates often share with me their intention to take a break over the summer and resume hunting full throttle in September. On one hand, it’s great to enjoy this rare downtime with family. Please, make the most of this opportunity! Once they land a new role, an extended break is unlikely to happen again for a while.

But lack of activity can impact confidence and optimism, two essential ingredients to a successful outcome.

It can also extend the length of a search, which can add even more stress.

Beyond helping job seekers maintain a positive outlook, there are several tactical advantages to staying active during the summer.

So let’s not give up on August completely.

Here’s why:

As an executive recruiter, I often receive calls to discuss really interesting searches during the summer months and during another seemingly quiet period – the December holidays. I have to imagine my competitors do as well.

This sounds counterintuitive, but it’s a real trend and I have a theory as to why.


My clients, hiring managers, are so busy throughout the year putting out the fires directly in front of them. Addressing talent gaps is a complex undertaking, requiring time, strategic thinking and the involvement and buy-in of multiple stakeholders.

Where and when do hiring managers find the headspace to think about these issues?

When they’re on vacation, clearing their heads of the urgent, immediate issues demanding their time and attention.

Maybe they’re hiding from their in-laws or wild children. No judgement here. Whatever the catalyst, they’re reaching out to talk talent.

Competitive Advantage:

Job seekers who are not currently working have a distinct advantage over others during the summer months. With the majority of the talent pool currently entrenched in jobs, most prospects are awaiting 2018 bonuses with payouts between January and March. If they have garden leave, we’re looking at waiting several additional months until they are available to start.

Hiring managers face a difficult decision during this time of year – do they buy out a 2018 bonus to bring someone on board ASAP? If so, they’re writing a hefty check for what feels like very little short term productivity. Or do they wait and hire someone after bonuses are paid out? This incurs the risk of their desired candidate going elsewhere or deciding to stay. Even if things work out, there is an opportunity cost to leaving the seat empty until late Q1 or even early Q2.

Job seekers available now are rare, and they solve this conundrum.


For better or worse, summer is winding down and September will be before we know it.

Forward thinking managers will launch searches in September and activity will naturally pick up. High quality job seekers who stayed active throughout the summer are best positioned to be front of mind for consideration on these projects.

In fact, my next article will encourage all hiring managers to get focused on Q1 2019 hiring. September may seem early, but launching a search in September gives hiring firms three to four months to run a thoughtful and comprehensive process before the holidays arrive. As much as I love my Christmas week calls, launching searches in January for a Q1 hire puts hiring managers (and recruiters) behind the eight ball.

While these are all great reasons for job seekers to keep their foot on the gas during the summer months, it doesn’t mean it’s easy.

Working with a professional executive coach to craft your story and get clear on your search are key elements of preparation – there is no shortcut here.

If you’re ready for outreach to recruiters and hiring managers, the insider’s tips I offered in an earlier article are even more critical during the summer, when one must work harder to get attention.

Imagine a hiring manager or executive recruiter returning from vacation to hundreds of emails. Flawless, thoughtful and highly targeted outreach is critical here. If a job seeker receives an out of office message, I would even suggest marking a note on their calendar to reach out a second time the following week.

Either way, make sure that outreach is outstanding. From the Insider’s Guide:

The Outstanding Email: a real connection is established.

  • Contains all characteristics of a good email
  • References mutual connections or how you found the recruiter
  • Includes a short description of your professional background and desired next step, including geographic considerations
  • Offers to be helpful as a source on other projects
  • Followed up by thoughtful outreach

Enjoy the summer. Stay engaged. And keep the faith!

Laurie Thompson is a Principal in the Global Financial Services Practice at Heidrick and Struggles, the executive search and leadership advisory firm. She is also an aspiring author who writes about integrating professional life with motherhood.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author’s.

Originally published at www.linkedin.com