I don’t know about you, but I tend to slow down a bit over the summer. Blame it on the heat, or the feeling that I should be on summer vacation—not sitting in an office.
I’m not saying I’m proud of it. I’m aware that there are a lot of great things to get done in your career this time of year, not to mention that the summer is probably one of the best times to start your job search.
Which is why I’ve compiled a list of easy things (yes, so easy you can do them while sitting on the beach!) to do over the summer to kickstart your job search—without sacrificing all the hours you want to spend enjoying the beautiful weather and participating in plenty of shenanigans. Try these tasks out, and come fall—when the temperature cools down and that pep in your step comes back—you’ll be more than ready to kick your hunt for a new role into high gear.
1. Send Out Connection Requests on LinkedIn
Pull up your LinkedIn and take a quick gander at your connections. Is there anyone missing? Maybe an old boss, former colleague, or networking contact you met a while back? How about someone you admire who works in your industry or at your dream company?
Write them a quick note asking to connect (it’s always best to send a personalized message!). This should take five minutes tops—there is a character count limit, after all. These templates should do the trick if you’re struggling to come up with ideas.
You’ll be glad you have this person in your online network in a few months when you need people to contact about opportunities. Who knows, they may even post a position that shows up on your feed and opens the door for you!
2. Refresh Your LinkedIn Photo and Headline
You may not be in the mood to extensively update your LinkedIn profile just now. That’s OK. (If you are, here’s your guide to getting it all done.)
But at least take care of the bigger impact items when you have a moment. Like adding a professional headshot if you don’t have one (you can take one on your phone, it’s that simple). Or making your headline super engaging. These are the first two things someone sees when they land on your page, so you might as well make ’em good.
3. Let LinkedIn Know You’re Open to Opportunities
This will literally take a few seconds. Go to your LinkedIn settings and turn on the button that says “Let recruiters know you’re open to opportunities.” This indicates to recruiters you’d like to receive messages about job openings. Then, check out the career interests page to specify what opportunities you’re open to.
Turning this on now won’t mean you’ll instantly be bombarded with notifications. In fact, you probably won’t hear much at first—but it’ll eventually set you up with leads you can then pursue in the fall, or whenever you’re ready. (LinkedIn tries to make sure your employer doesn’t see this toggled, but it’s not always a guarantee someone you work with won’t come across it online, so if you want to avoid getting caught job searching maybe skip this step.)
Just a note that if you use this, you may want to update your LinkedIn more thoroughly (like reworking your summary) so recruiters can clearly see your value and expertise when they come across your page. If nothing else, tackling this could help you make use of a rainy afternoon.
4. Make Your Other Social Media Accounts Private (or Clean Them Up)
Speaking of social media, make sure any of your personal profiles, like on Instagram or Facebook, are private.
If you want to keep them public, take a few minutes to clean up anything that might reflect poorly on you if a hiring manager or recruiter comes across it. (You might to do this regardless, just in case!) Once you actually start job searching, you’ll be less paranoid you’ll lose an opportunity because of an inappropriate public post or photo.
5. Send Out Networking Emails
Feeling a little daring? Whip up a short email to a contact (or several) asking them to go for coffee or chat about their experience over the phone. You can follow these templates for making your ask.
Worst case scenario, you follow up and they don’t respond. Best case scenario, they say yes and you’ve built yourself an even stronger network for when you go seriously looking for jobs!
6. Bookmark Jobs You’re Interested In
Applying for a job takes time, no doubt about it. You need to find the right position, study the job description, write a cover letter tailored to it, write and edit your resume, and ensure your materials are in tip-top shape before hitting submit.
But you can cut down on that time by doing some prep work now. Even if you don’t want to apply right this minute, spend 10 minutes once a week scrolling through job boards or company career sites, picking roles that seem like a good fit for you, and pasting the links into a blank spreadsheet (or use our job search tracker).
You may be thinking, Why would I jot these down if I don’t plan on submitting my resume for a while?
Even if the role ends up disappearing before you apply, starting to gather ideas as to the jobs you’d like to go for and what they’re looking for helps you figure out:
- What skills or experiences do you need to build between now and your actual job search in order to be seriously considered?
- How should you present yourself when you actually go to create your materials?
- What’s the job market like for that specific role? In other words: How many opportunities are out there? What kinds of companies offer those opportunities? How difficult will those jobs be to nab?
Basically, brainstorming and reading up on roles now makes you that much more of an informed job seeker later on.
And plenty of job openings are open for months, depending on how easy they are to fill or even how many people in that role the company wants to hire. So don’t be surprised that a job you find in August may still be actively hiring in October, when you’re really ready to throw your name in the hat. (Of course, if you find that dream job of yours, don’t delay applying, because it could be gone before you know it.)
7. Give Your Resume a Once-Over
No, I’m not going to ask you to thoroughly edit your resume this summer (although hey, if you have a couple of hours free, go for it).
What I am going to suggest is that you spend 15-20 minutes looking over your resume for any glaring errors. For example, is your address still correct? Have your title or basic job responsibilities changed? Is there anything super old and irrelevant you should cut?
You may decide that this is enough come fall when you submit applications, or you may revisit some of your changes or add more details. But refreshing it even just a little bit ensures when you’re in a bind time-wise—whether an application is due at midnight or a networking contact asks for your resume, stat—you have a workable document you can hand over with confidence.
8. Write a Rough Outline of a Cover Letter
Let’s say you’ve browsed through various job postings and while you’re not ready to apply, you’re starting to get some ideas about how you might want to write your cover letter.
Great! Rather than type out a complete one-pager, jot down some bullet points in your phone’s notes app or on a piece of paper. For example, you might think about:
- What are the two to three most important skills that come up in the requirements for the jobs you’re interested in? What’s a story you could talk about to express you have each of these skills?
- Which roles that you’ve held fit most closely with the profiles of these job postings?
- What accomplishments in previous roles or your current role are you most proud of?
- What draws you to these jobs or companies? (Answering this could lead to a great opening line.)
Write down anything you think of, even if it feels silly. If nothing comes to mind now, put it aside and revisit it another day. When you actually go to write your full cover letter, these notes may be immensely helpful in getting started.
9. Tell Your Network
This is the laziest trick in the book, but also one of the smartest. If you’re serious about finding a new job, even if you’re not-so-serious with following through on it right now, notifying your network that you’re interested in new opportunities will immediately open up doors you didn’t know were there.
And it doesn’t have to be done formally, either. Maybe the next time you’re out with your college buddies you bring up the fact that you’re considering making moves in the next six months. Or when you attend your family reunion you ask your uncle if he knows anyone hiring. Or at drinks with former co-workers you mention that you’ve been toying with the idea of changing careers.
You of course want to be careful that word doesn’t spread back to your boss or current team, if you’re still employed. But telling people you trust—not just to be discreet but to pair you with the right job—where your head’s at preps them for the moment when you need them to actually help you carve that new path.
Photo of person outside with laptop nearby courtesy of Tom Merton/Getty Images.
Previously an editor for The Muse, Alyse is proud to prove that yes, English majors can change the world. She’s written almost 500 articles for The Muse on anything from productivity tips to cover letters to bad bosses to cool career changers, many of which have been featured in Fast Company, Forbes, Inc., CNBC's Make It, USA Today College, Lifehacker, Mashable, and more. She calls many places home, including Illinois where she grew up and the small town of Hamilton where she attended Colgate University, but she was born to be a New Yorker. In addition to being an avid writer and reader, Alyse loves to dance, both professionally and while waiting for the subway.More from this Author