Many job seekers think they should take the summer off. They shouldn’t. Yes, it’s true that July is a slow month for getting a job offer. However, if you are actively seeking a job you should consider working very hard to submit quality applications throughout May and June. Those applications may result in interviews in July and August.

One way to think of the price of procrastination is to calculate lost salary. If you have lost your job instead of waiting months to get a job, starting a contract engagement is a much better option while you conduct your job search. You also could convert at the company at which you are contracting. There are contract engagements in all fields for salaried professionals that are difficult to fill. They including cover leaves of absence and roles suddenly open when a job holder leaves and a job cannot remain unfilled.

Your goal is to eliminate all potential gaps in employment. Here’s how to use your summer wisely.

  1. Get a contract gig – If you aren’t working, or about to lose your job, get a contract assignment as soon as possible. I’ve noticed that when job seekers aren’t working a contract gig while looking for a full time job, when they do get to the offer stage with a potential new employer, they tend to get lowballed on salary and many times presented with a lower title.
  2. Strategically apply online for roles for which you are truly qualified, with a resume that is optimized to nail the requirements in the job posting, to ensure that you have front loaded your opportunities before the dog days of summer.
  3. Contact key staffing firms and agencies in your area and field in May and June to get in their pool of qualified candidates for incoming projects.
  4. Create job agents in Indeed, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn to notify you when contract and LOA coverage contract gigs are posted.
  5. Apply daily. Very quickly. When these roles are created, they need to be filled very quickly. They need to hire someone fast and since it’s a temp hire, it’s the one time employers won’t be looking for perfect.

Another way to help your career over the summer is to focus on getting a needed certification or other education that will make you more attractive to potential employers.

The goal is not waste 1-3 months when you could be helping your job search with critical skill building.