Worried about taking a vacation while job hunting? Here’s how to do both

The summer months can be a tough season to job hunt: The majority of your contacts might be on vacation, enjoying summer hours or merely trying to get as much crucial work done as fast as they can so they can hit the beach.

But while you might be putting much of your outreach on hold, you also don’t want to miss out on any actual jobs that do come up. And, it’s also summer for you, after all, and you have time on your hands.

That can create a dilemma for a full-time job hunter, whether you had a vacation planned before your situation or you decide to take advantage of your time “off” to enjoy a visit with friends or family. Being inaccessible as that HR director you’ve been trying to track down finally contacts you can be a roadblock for your interviewing strategy.

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But sitting around waiting for the phone to ring isn’t necessarily the only answer. Here are some tips for attaining balance, but not abandoning your job hunt, when you have a vacation planned.

1. Choose your location wisely

Assuming you’re in control of where you go (as in, your presence is not required at a destination wedding or family reunion) try to organize your trip as close to home — or the location where you are looking for a job — as possible so that you can show up if you are called in for an interview and absolutely can’t miss out, says Chris Chancey, a career expert and founder and owner of Amplio Recruiting. But if you do decide to go further afield, think about a location where you might consider relocating, assuming that is potentially in the cards. You’ll have the chance to soak in the ambiance and decide if it’s for you.

2. Do some homework before you depart

If you worry that your job hunt will consume you while you’re gone, set some groundwork in the days and weeks leading up to it to so you feel on top of the process. Chancey recommends starting a list of potential networking connections and tweaking your resume and LinkedIn profile to correspond to the jobs you hope to apply to, so you are ready when you return. “The idea here is to lay down the basics of your job hunt so you can focus on the time with your loved ones,” he says.

3. Be clear that you might not respond immediately

Put an “out of office” reply on your email account so that the employer will know that you’re away and therefore they will likely receive a delayed response, suggests career strategist Missy Scott. That doesn’t mean that you should go totally off the grid; she recommends checking your email at least daily so that you’re able to respond, or even more often if activities permit. But giving the HR person a heads-up that you’re typically more responsive can allay any quick decisions they might make to move on to the next in line.

4. Use downtime wisely

Unless it’s completely unavoidable, you won’t want to miss a hike to the waterfall or visit a theme park. Instead, find a block of time, whether it is early in the morning or between activities, and use the quiet time to focus on scanning job boards or other application tasks, suggests Chancey. “Fortunately, with a smartphone by your side, you can keep up with any job-related updates throughout the day without feeling anxious about missing an important email or worrying about annoying your loved ones.”

You never know who might be that golden connection so don’t have any qualms regarding discussing your job hunt if you meet new people during your vacation, suggests Chancey. Practice a short elevator speech so you can easily frame your pursuits and then don’t be shy about telling others you are looking for a job. Take their contact information so you can reach out when you get home and share your LinkedIn and other information in case they hear of anything.

6. Be upfront if you have already started the hiring process

If you’re actively involved in an interview process, the worst possible thing you can do is ghost a hiring manager, so let your contact know at the beginning of the process about your pre-planned vacation. “Just being aware of the timeline can save a lot of headache later,” says Elatia Abate, a human capital expert who has run global recruiting for Anheuser-Busch InBev and Dow Jones. “Sometimes the process can be accelerated or condensed in order to be completed before the planned time away, or one round could be scheduled before and another after.”

If the need is urgent, show you’re a team player by being available if necessary by phone or via a Skype or Facetime interview. You don’t want to miss out on a great opportunity because of timing. But don’t blow off your usual interview protocol, Abate cautions. “Prep the night before and find a quiet room where you can concentrate and be heard without distraction.”

7. Follow up when you get back

As soon as you return, follow up with anyone you interacted with. If there was an interview you missed because you couldn’t leverage technology and they couldn’t wait, make sure to reinforce that you would love to keep in touch for future opportunities, Abate says.

8. Don’t worry that this will take you out of the running

Job hunting while having pre-planned travel can be daunting for, acknowledges Abate, but she says it needn’t be. “Most hiring managers prioritize having a quality candidate hired into the job versus just getting someone in the seat quickly, she says.

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