Your 2013 job-search guide: July through September

Susan Ricker,

It's already the second half of 2013, and if your goals for the year included finding a new job, consider this a call to action. At the beginning of the year, we created a 2013 job-search guide with a quarter-by-quarter plan to keep you focused in your search. Here's an overview of the timeline:
  • Q1 (January through March): Devote the first few months of the year to getting organized: Organize your thoughts, organize your application materials and organize your contacts.
  • Q2 (April through June): A few months in, you should be going full steam ahead with your job search. Your days should be filled with applying, following up, networking and (hopefully) going to interviews. If you're a college student, get a head start in your professional job search by tapping alumni, using your school's career resources and making initial contact with companies of interest.
  • Q3 (July through September): At around the midyear mark, take a step back to review what's working and what's not in your job search. It's not too late to course-correct to ensure that you reach your goals during the back half of the year.
  • Q4 (October through December): During the last few months of the year, take advantage of the season. Network at holiday parties, consider seasonal job opportunities and take the time to thank those who have helped you professionally throughout the year.
Q3: Conduct a self-review and make adjustments
At this point, you've gotten your application materials into good shape and you've been busy searching for and applying to jobs. Your next step is to review your progress and determine what's aided your search and what's held you back. Also review whether your career goals are the same or if you'd be willing to cast a wider net. Here's a closer look at what you should be doing in Q3:
  • Change what's not working: By the midyear mark, you most likely know whether you're making progress or you're stuck in the same spot. The first item up for review is your résumé. Does it need a makeover? By changing its design or format, you may find new strengths to play up that you hadn't previously considered. Have your networking efforts fallen flat? Review the basics and make sure you're ready to mingle. Also assess your social-media strategy: Do you have one, and is it helping or hurting you? Finally, ask yourself if relocation is an option. Would you be willing to move for a job?
  • Consider temporary or seasonal work to gain experience and contacts: They say it's easier to get a job when you already have one, but that really means employers want to see that you have industry experience. Temporary work is a way to get your foot in the door at a company, and seasonal work can add experience to your résumé. Focus on finding opportunities that boost your résumé's experience and skills section.
  • Use advice and resources specific to your background and needs: You customize your résumé to each job you apply for, so you should also customize your search to fit your individual needs. Consider using niche sites to target specific industries or experience levels. If you have trouble fitting a job search into your busy schedule, mobile applications and resources may help you get to relevant opportunities more quickly.
Use July through September to apply strategies that are right for your job-search needs and you'll be in good shape heading into the end of the year.

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