For Job Hunters: 3 Ways to Stay Relevant During the Summer Doldrums (Even Summer 2020)

Aug. 18, 2020

Sara Garlick Lundberg

[This article was originally published here (in DRG’s blog) on 08/23/2018. It was refreshed in August 2020 and first appeared in Sara Garlick’s LinkedIn on 08/18/2020]


I’m taking a moment to refresh this post. If you’re job hunting now and feeling the strain, I hear you. These are unprecedented times to say the least. Job seekers, now is the time think hard about your approach and take action. While others dial back in the build up to Labor Day 2020, consider these three simple steps to help you refocus and re-energize as you push forward in your job search.


Job hunting is anxiety inducing, especially during the hot and oft-slow summer months, but these last weeks are a great time to boost and recharge your hunt. Read on for three quick tips to help make the most of your days leading up to Labor Day:

Take this sometimes-slow period to reflect on what has and hasn’t worked in your job search. Is your resume not yielding the responses you thought it would? Are you not making it beyond the first round? Be honest with yourself: think about the pain points in your job hunt and sit with a trusted contact (someone who has been successful in your space, a former colleague, someone who asks good questions and whose advice you trust). Ask for their feedback as well as their own experiences when exploring a next professional chapter. You’ll be surprised by their stories – successes, false starts and all.

Consider where you’re applying. Are you casting your net too far in an effort to get yourself seen as much as possible? This approach will exhaust you and is less likely to yield positive results. Step back, think about where and in what functions you’ve been happiest and refocus. Clarity of purpose and direction are appreciated and noted in candidates.

Next, consider your approach to interviewing. Check out “5 Things I Tell Every Candidate Before an Interview” and “3 Mistakes…” and really think about how you’re showing up in the interview. Seek advice from a contact who hires in your sector. Ask them what appeals to them most in candidates, and conversely, what frustrates them most. Since most 2020 interviews are virtual, take a moment to prepare for this format: check your setting, background and lighting, consider that a virtual format can ‘flatten’ interactions and pump yourself up a bit before the call. With a bit of preparation, your video interview will feel as normal as can be.


Recalibrate and Recast
Next, identify three simple ways to incorporate what you’ve learned and pivot. Don’t overwhelm yourself with a long list of things you need to change – in fact keeping the list short will force you to prioritize the most important changes you need to make. It can be anything from changing how you’re framing your prior professional successes in interviews, to whether the positions you’re pursuing are a fit given your long-term goals or how you’re sharing your accomplishments on your resume. Recalibrate and recast with a few simple but targeted tweaks and keep moving forward.


This suggestion comes last for a reason: you’ll be a stronger networker once you’ve reflected on your search and have refined your approach. People who have a clear sense of what they want, and who seek input as to how to get there, are more attractive than those with less clarity.

Networking during a pandemic may sound like a challenge, but worry not. You will be surprised by how many people are looking for a sense of connection now. August can be a slow time for interviews with many key decision makers on vacation and balancing family and work. Decisions can be delayed, but don’t let it get to you because you aren’t the only person wishing for more activity. August – especially August 2020 – is actually a great time to reach out for virtual ‘networking coffees.’

Take this time to reach out to a handful of contacts (former mentor or bosses, trailblazers in your field, friends you view as particularly successful). Offer to meet for a virtual coffee to seek their advice, learn about trends in the industry (hiring and otherwise), and discover what they look for in a new employee. Take some time to think about changes that could make you more appealing when up against other candidates.

If you’re looking for more tips on networking, check out the powerhouse that is Lydia Fenet, author of The Most Powerful Woman in the Room is You and creator of a master class on the very topic. If you have seen her in action, you will know that she is amazing. What you won’t ever guess is how much work she puts in behind the scenes to bring her work to life- whether networking, pitching new business or auctioning artwork.


So job seekers, fear not. August – even August 2020 – isn’t a time to lose traction. While others check out, reflect, refocus and refresh, and you’ll be on stronger footing as you put yourself out there.


Have questions? Feel free to reach out.

#jobhunt #summersearch #nonprofitsearch #leadershiphunt #jobhunting #pandemicjobsearch #networking #reflectandrefresh

About Sara Garlick Lundberg:

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Read my previous article, “The Shows Must Go On – An Interview with One of NYC’s Top Events Strategists”


[This article was originally published here (in DRG’s blog) on 08/23/2018. It was refreshed in August 2020 and first appeared in Sara Garlick’s LinkedIn on 08/18/2020]