How to Hit Your Job Search Hard After Summer Vacation

When it’s summer, nobody can blame you for wanting to distance yourself from your computer screen a little bit. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and the food that’s sizzling on the grill in the backyard smells positively delicious. Needless to say, the last thing you want to do is be cooped up inside quantifying the bullet points on your resume and tailoring your cover letter.

But, as you know, you can’t land a new job if you aren’t actively applying for them. And, since summer is quickly winding down, reality will inevitably hit you like a ton of bricks all too soon: You still want a new gig, but you haven’t put in any work to actually make that happen.

Well, my friends, this is no time to panic. Now that you’ve enjoyed your summer break, it’s time to hop back into that job search saddle and put your nose to the grindstone. Here are a few tips to help you jump right back in and make the most of your hunt, so you can hopefully land a new gig sooner rather than later.

1. Outline Your Goals

Let’s face it—you’re probably a little rusty. All that time spent soaking up the sun has likely caused you to lose sight of what you really want in a job. So, first things first, it’s time to knock off the cobwebs and brush up on your goals.

Take some time to sit down and write out what you’re looking for. What things are you specifically hoping for in your next job? What qualities in an employer are important to you? Is there a certain salary range or position level you’re aiming to reach?

Getting clear on your goals right from the get-go will allow you to approach the rest of your job hunt with focus and an end objective in mind. Otherwise, it’s all too easy to become unmotivated and feel discouraged.

2. Set Mini Milestones

Speaking of goals, setting an objective like, “Find a great new job” can seem a little overwhelming. Where do you even start? The entire thing seems ambiguous and, honestly, totally out of reach.

To keep focused on your job hunt and ensure you keep making forward progress, it’s best if you set mini milestones—small things that you can accomplish along the way. This could be something like applying to five jobs by the end of the week. Or, you could drill down even more to set smaller, bite-sized goals of tailoring a cover letter or setting up one informational interview.

Doing so makes the entire job hunt seem that much more manageable. Even better? You’ll have a chance to celebrate your small wins and successes—rather than feeling like you’re constantly buried under a pile of more and more to do.

3. Implement a Reward System

Establishing your smaller milestones within your job hunt is only half the battle—now you need something to inspire you to actually work toward those. And, who doesn’t love a great reward?

Yes, I know the concept of rewarding yourself with treats is enough to make you feel like a trained dog drooling over a milkbone. But, honestly, the concept really works. You just need to think of some things you really want and enjoy, and then only allow yourself to have them once you’ve accomplished something.

Maybe you can only head to that workout class you love if you’ve finished off your job hunting checklist for the day. Or, perhaps you’ll treat yourself to a weekend off after a crazy week of searching.

Find what works for you, and work toward it! You might be surprised by how much it boosts your motivation.

4. Incorporate Fun

Alright, so summer might be quickly coming to a close. But, let’s be honest—that doesn’t mean the weather instantly turns crappy and you’ll end up being pumped up and ready to be cooped in front of your computer again. The calendar may change, but there are still probably plenty of other things you’d rather be doing than job hunting.

It’s for this reason that you should try to incorporate as much fun into your job search as you can. Sounds impossible? I assure you, it’s not.

For example, set up an informational interview with an industry leader you admire at your favorite coffee shop. You’ll get out of the house, make an awesome connection, and also get to enjoy one of your favorite beverages. Grab a friend and head to a local networking event together (free wine and appetizers, anyone?). Or, simply bring your laptop out onto your patio and enjoy what’s left of the nice weather while being productive at the same time.

No, these aren’t earth-shattering changes. But, they can make a big difference in your attitude and the overall way you approach your job search.

While we’d all like to think that summer is endless, it’s not. And, even if you’ve taken some time off from your job hunt to enjoy your summer break, you’re going to need to jump back on that horse eventually. Implement these four tips, and that transition is sure to be a whole lot easier (or, at the very least, tolerable).

Written by

Kat is a Wisconsin-based freelance writer covering topics related to careers, self-development, and entrepreneurship. Her byline has appeared in numerous outlets and publications, including Forbes, Fast Company, The Muse, QuickBooks, Business Insider, and more. Find out more about her on her website, or connect with her on Twitter.

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