A forlorn job seeker was bemoaning the arrival of summer on the Dice Discussion board because employers don't often extend offers during the vacation period. Despite May's apathetic job creation by the private sector, this summer could be fruitful for proactive job seekers as employers face stormy conditions not seen in recent years. So what are these conditions that could benefit job seekers? First, contractor and temp usage continues to rise and some contingent workers will stop searching for full-time jobs because theyre hoping for better market conditions or conversion to full-time status. Active candidates will benefit from fewer competitors and fewer applicants could encourage employers to compromise on those burgeoning tech requirements. Second, consumer confidence has been rising and layoffs are slowing, so employees may actually take a  summer vacation instead of cowering in their cubicles waiting for the other shoe to drop. IT managers have been able to make-do despite staff reductions because the remaining workers have been coming in sick, forgoing vacations and absorbing workloads from exiting employees. Finally, moderating productivity gains and an increase in voluntary terminations could signal the end of excess capacity. IT leaders who have been treading water could be deluged by the perfect summer storm - a few people quit, others go on vacation - suddenly the remaining staff can't pick-up the slack; as deadlines loom. So what's the best way to capitalize on the brewing summer storm?
  • Anticipate possible openings by contacting managers and sending them your resume. Many companies downsized internal recruiting staff during the downturn, so managers will have to wait for help or source their own candidates. When a desperate manager gets the approval to hire, he¿ll turn first to referrals and familiar candidates.
  • Increase your networking activity and re-contact prospective managers who hired during the early stages of the recovery. A large percentage of new hires don't work out and some newly-hired IT professionals will jump at a better offer from a prospective employer. Managers will be pressed to back-fill unanticipated vacancies and they will consider runner-ups before launching a brand new search.
  • Offer to fill-in for vacationing full-timers. You probably know several managers who could use a little vacation relief, so offer your services on a contract basis and see where it leads.
The bottom line: Summer success will hinge on being in the right place at the right time, so don¿t take a vacation from your job search. -- Leslie Stevens-Huffman