So, you graduated college in May and are still looking for a “real” job.

You might even have taken a job at a camp or local restaurant to make some money for now—but you really want to do something that leverages what you studied in college. It’s easy over the summer to say, “I’ll just wait until the fall start my job search because everyone is on vacation.” Yes – people do take vacation in the summer; however, summer can also be a beneficial time for a job seeker.

Most businesses do slow down a bit in the summer as employers take off for summer vacations. But instead of looking at this as a time for you to take a vacation too—a better idea is for you to use this time to put your job search efforts into motion. This is because employers on a summer business schedule may actually have more time to speak to you now than they will in the fall, and they may also be more willing to take an informational interview request over the summer. A smart job seeker should take advantage of this little-known fact and jump at the opportunity.

Graduates should maximize their summer search with the following tips:

1. Research

Before you apply for a job, it’s important to narrow in on what industry you want to work in and what type of job suits your skill set. But how do you figure that out? Research! Reading online about specific companies and positions, and speaking to contacts that have the kind of jobs you aspire to have can be key to helping you better define your skills and where they may fit.

2. Prepare

Google can tell you a lot about a person or company that you would like to interview with. Candidates who show they researched the latest press release and important company initiatives will make a good impression. Look up the person on LinkedIn and take note of their experiences. This will help you establish a better rapport with the contact. You want to show that you have done your homework and know the basics of what the company does.

3. Connect

The more direct connections you can have—meaning live face-to-face or phone conversations, the better you will be able to understand the opportunities/types of jobs out there. In turn, this will help you better know how to focus your search. Once you start focusing on a specific company, industry or job description, the job search gets much easier because you will now have more direction for your search.

At this point, you may be thinking, “Well this sounds good but how do I do this? How do I call people I have never met before and ask them for an informational interview? What do I say?  How does this lead to an interview for a real job?”

We can help. Next Great Step helps graduates succeed with a competitive edge.  For the past 20 years, we have advised Fortune 500 companies how to develop and implement strategies to achieve success, which has included the hiring of staff members. Now we are bringing those same strategies to students, teaching them how to communicate their abilities to meet the needs of prospective employers. Our students learn proven, time-tested techniques to achieve their personal goals and compete with a strong edge over other candidates to get their first job and plan for the future. Contact us to learn more.