The summer is often the busiest time of year – there are countless graduations, weddings, baby showers, family reunions, and vacations. However, the job market is sizzling! If you are considering a career change, here are five easy things you can do to accelerate your search process. We have even included examples, so you do not have to waste any time this summer!

1. Update your resume and cover letter.

Your resume is not what will get you hired – your skills and personality will do that for you. However, you must ensure that your resume will not underwhelm a hiring manager with minimal details or overwhelm them with too much information. If your resume is over 3 pages long, consider cutting it back to highlight only your most important skills and experiences. If you keep your resume updated, this should not take you long at all! Try to avoid using the standard templates on Microsoft Word and come up with something slightly more creative. Be sure to save your resume as both a .doc and a .pdf so it’s accessible to everyone, regardless of whether you use a Mac or a PC. Consider uploading your resume to Dropbox or Google Drive so you have a copy in case your laptop crashes or you forget to print a copy and need to access it from a public computer.

Keep in mind that you should repeat the process of updating your resume every time you apply for a new position. While this may get tedious, blindly sending out a resume will almost never get you the job you want.

Left: too crowded and not eye-catching; Right: looks professional and clean!

2. Order business cards.

Business cards are one of the most important tools job seekers have! Consider having business cards made that only list your personal information instead of your current employer’s. Your business card should certainly be eye-catching and include your name, phone number, email address, and an invitation to connect on LinkedIn. You should also include a call to action of some kind. If you are struggling to come up with a good design on your own, VistaPrint and Canva both have tons of great options. Most of the templates are free to use, download, and are available to get printed somewhere else.

Left: The dark background leaves no place to write notes and the card is not eye catching; Right: The card catches the eye and contains only the vital amount of information.

3. Connect with friends and family on LinkedIn.

Speaking of connecting on LinkedIn, be sure to reach out to old colleagues (or even friends and family members) on the world’s largest professional networking platform. Make sure you are connected to everyone you have worked with in the past. Experts recommend you should have 500+ connections on LinkedIn to optimize your profile. This makes you more visible to recruiters, business people, and centers of influences (COIs).

4. Brush up on your skills.

Hard skills – things like math, reading, coding, and other concrete abilities – are a little harder to learn in 20 minutes. However, there are plenty of resources available to brush up on your soft skills, like interviewing and business etiquette. YouTube is a wonderful resource to continue growing your skills (and it’s FREE!). RecruiterSkillopediaSnag, and TEDx all put out great content to help job seekers and none of their videos are longer than 20 minutes. You could also practice interviewing with a friend or family member.

On a side note, if you are looking to learn a new hard skill, Lynda.comKhan Academy, and edX are great places to start.

5. Clean up your social media profiles.

If you think hiring managers and recruiters are not checking out your social media profiles, you are wrong! It is time to remove any inappropriate posts or photos and stop sharing overly political posts on your Facebook page. If your profile picture is particularly old or unflattering, consider changing it to a more recent, professional photo. Make sure your LinkedIn account is up-to-date, including information about your most recent position, and check that little box telling recruiters you’re open to new positions. (Note: if you are trying to leave your current position discretely, be sure to hide updates from your network. Every boss knows what a lot of sudden LinkedIn profile updates means.)

Most importantly, try to share content relating to the job you want. Writing your own content is even better, especially on LinkedIn. Try not to stress over it if writing is not your forte.

Even as a hard-working professional, you should enjoy your summer. Be sure to squeeze in some job search tasks on a regular basis. Good luck!

– Morgan Larabie