Back-to-School Means New Opportunities for Job Seekers


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Back-to-school means more than cooling temperatures and an end to beach days. For job seekers, the season signals an opportunity to revise and revamp your job search.

Contrary to what you may have heard about “slow” end-of-summer hiring, the fact is that employers actually seek to fill more positions during back-to-school time — in preparation for Fall and the new year to come.

According to a 2017 Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, 24 percent of employers predict an increase in end-of-summer hiring. Researchers surveyed more than 11,000 hiring managers in all 50 states to determine employment trends at their companies in the last three months of 2017, as compared to their hiring practices during the summer.

Employers in another study envisioned a 32 percent increase in their total workforce by the end of this year. The LinkedIn Global Talent Trends surveyed more than 33,000 hiring managers across the country. Of those, 93 percent of business executives said they planned to make sweeping updates and improvements to their workforce over the next two years. Most of those changes focus on increased efficiency and customer experience.

So what does all of this mean to you? At this time of year, it’s more important than ever to keep your job search momentum, and even take your search to the next level. Use these tips to stay focused and motivated during your back-to-school job search:

1. Revamp and refocus your job search

It’s a fact that back-to-school time signals a shift in time management. Parents of school-aged children have new obligations that take up the time they had in the summer to devote to job searching. On the other hand, stay-at-home parents or those who work from home now find themselves with much more time once the summer tasks end. Both scenarios can quickly derail a job search.

That’s why it’s important to set dedicated, distraction-free time to be used only for job searching. Turn off your cell phone, and let your friends and family members know that you need a few minutes to really focus on finding and applying to jobs.

[Tweet “Set aside distraction-free time to keep your #jobsearch on track.”]

To-do lists will also help you stay on the job search task. Set concrete, achievable goals for each day, and avoid allowing tasks to hold over to another day.

Vision boards have become increasingly popular in recent years. Featuring images and words that you cut from magazines and then paste onto a poster board, vision boards can inspire you to achieve the dream you create. For job seekers, this can include companies where you’d like to work, ideal jobs within those companies, and even preferred working environments.

Similar to vision boards, creating a job search timeline will help you measure the progress you’ve made while being aware of the passing days.

An extension of your to-do lists, a job search timeline will help you stay on top of which tasks need to be done and in what order. Here, you can track when you applied to certain jobs, when you should follow up with employers, scheduling of interviews, and more.

2. Make a personal connection

Employers like to hire someone who is a “people person.” They want to know you have the basic communication skills to interact with clients and co-workers alike.

A good place to start is the career services office at your school. Many communities also provide employment assistance as a free community service to residents.

Even with a new schedule, it’s still important to make time to see and be seen. Attend workshops, social events, and networking functions. Even a barbecue or block party could result in a job lead.

Social interaction and networking remains essential to any successful job search. Take advantage of every opportunity at face-to-face communication.

3. Focus on continuing education and professional development

As evidenced in the LinkedIn Global Talent Trends report, hiring managers look for job seekers who demonstrate a desire to learn new skills and information. Continuing education and professional development opportunities help you gain that new experience. They also add value to a resume. Employers notice all skills that would be beneficial to them — not just those mentioned in the job description.

[Tweet “Put continuing education on your #resume to stand out above other job seekers.”]

Search your local higher education institutions for areas where you can earn certifications, higher degrees, or general job-related knowledge. Many institutions offer evening and weekend classes. If you’re currently enrolled in college, consider electives to expand your base knowledge.

Internships are not just for college credit. Some companies accept interns as a sort of “test.” When the internship is over, many interns are hired! Regardless, internships can help you gain new skills and build your professional network.

Take free online courses (MOOCs) and certifications. This is a quick and easy way to add continuing education credentials to your resume.

Volunteering is also a good way to gain new skills and experience. Be sure to choose activities and organizations that match your job goals and involve meeting people in your industry.

Now that summer is coming to a close, it’s time to take your job search in a new direction. Take advantage of opportunities to meet new people and make professional connections. Learn something new or expand on existing knowledge. Create a visual plan for your job search success. When you do, back-to-school time will be your time to finally land the job of your dreams!

What are you doing to stay motivated and keep up momentum during your job search? Let us know in the comments.

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Val Matta
Val Matta
Val Matta, Managing Director of CareerShift, co-founded the company in 2005 to help individuals bridge the gap between education and employment.  As a recognized expert in the field, Val is a frequent speaker on career management, networking, and job hunting strategies.  You can connect with her and the CareerShift team on FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter.