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Summer lull, is it a myth that recruitment slows down?

Is it a myth that people don’t tend to get hired over summer? People are often on holidays, interviews have to be rescheduled and hiring typically slows down, however people do get hired. Summer is the perfect time to prepare for the last quarter of the year. It is the optimum time to take stock and set yourself up for a new or expanded role; to prepare for a pay raise or a significant career change, for example pursuing a role involving a re-location overseas. So, take advantage of the so called ‘summer lull.’ Consider plans for upcoming projects. What needs to be done? What is a priority and take steps to prepare for a busier time ahead.

Here are some suggestions in how to get the best out of the so called, ‘summer lull.’

1. Job search & scheduling. As a lawyer seeking a new role, the summer can be an excellent time to ‘rev up’ your search. The competition may be taking time off (also assuming a slow down) and your hard to reach networking contacts may have lighter summer schedules, making successful connections over this period a touch easier.

If you are involved in a search for a new role, you cannot do a thing about any one else’s availability (or lack of) but you can take some basic steps to effectively manage your time and make yourself available. Always carry an updated calendar. Synchronise your phone with your computer, your family calendar and your work diary, so that you can respond quickly and efficiently to requests about your availability. Check in regularly with whoever is representing or co-ordinating your interviews. As well as keeping them posted about your availability, inform them if other potential employers are moving faster than they are. Remember, employers are seeking to appoint the best people possible and do not like to lose out to the competition! A simple rule is to schedule in meetings immediately and always keep the line of communication open.

2. Check in with your network. This applies to everyone – lawyers who are job seekers, mangers seeking to make appointments and trusted search consultants/recruiters trying to help make this happen. Propose outdoor networking meetings, where appropriate and make the most of the warmer weather. Summer is the optimum time to connect for the first time or re-connect with networking contacts. Make contact, ask about their holiday plans and/or share yours with them to establish common ground. Allow the conversation to move naturally onto business but take advantage of this slightly quieter, more relaxed time either to establish or re-kindle relationships. Doing this helps so that when the busy season hits, you are better prepared and able to respond quickly and efficiently, whatever the situation.

3. Review your skills and fine tune your CV. The ever changing legal landscape means that your professional experience is complex and constantly evolving and although there appear to be many job opportunities for in house counsel, the number of lawyers opting for life in house, versus the number of opportunities available, is not equal. This fierce competition has resulted in a bottle neck at times – particularly at the senior end. How should we respond? Adaptability is key. It is very important to constantly review, update and demonstrate any new skill or responsibility in your CV.

You may have been seconded to a new division. Perhaps you received a promotion and now manage a team or you have developed some regional expertise or mastered a new language. Whatever it is, do not assume anything as a given and set out your relevant experience, responsibilities and achievements clearly in your CV. Now is the time to update and perfect this document which will give you a competitive edge. The simple act of updating your CV will force you to reflect upon your skills which will serve to increase your confidence levels and lead you to a more successful result ultimately.

4. Review your professional wardrobe and update it – especially if you have not been wearing a suit over summer. If your work apparel could benefit from a boost, it is possible that your online presence could benefit from some attention too. Do you need to refresh your biography on your company website? Is your LinkedIn profile up to date and does it reference new skills, recent accomplishments, promotions and details of ongoing/interesting projects? Is your photograph current? Rest assured, any potential new boss will consider your online profile as part of their due diligence process. Therefore, it is vital that this is current, accurate and positively ‘showcases’ you in the best way possible.

5. Many people tend to work better when it is brighter and lighter in the summer months. Exploit the slightly longer days. Get up earlier, put in extra research time, stay late and do more networking. Draw up a list of company ‘targets.’ Who would you like to work for and why? Use this time to research company and individual profiles and new job opportunities. Consider signing up for relevant training courses (many often commence in September/October) and meet with trusted search consultants to determine who you would like to be represented by.

6. Goal setting. It is important to close the year on a high. Do not reserve your goal setting for January. June to August is the time to take stock and get ready. If you are able to understand and prepare for the market you are in or would like to operate in, you can respond to it more quickly and take advantage of relevant opportunities to maximise your career potential. Summer is over all too quickly and October ushers in before you know it. By then, it is too late to start thinking then about what you can do to end the year on a high. Basically, if you are searching for a new job or working towards a raise or a promotion, slowing down over summer is a mistake. Summer is the time to assess where you are, where you would like to be and decide what steps you need to take to get there.

7. Timing. I am often asked, ‘when is the best time to look for a job?’ My response is always the same and that is, ‘whenever you need/feel ready for one!’ The same applies for employers. If a client has a critical position to fill, the best time to start the recruiting process and interviewing is immediately. There is no other ‘right time.’ Wishing you all an enjoyable and constructive summer!

Rachael North is Director, In House at BCL Legal and can be contacted on tel: +44 (0) 203 651 5718 or via email:rachaelnorth@bcllegal.com

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