In preparation for a supposed uptick in hiring, former and current hiring managers recently made “September Surge” a trending topic across social media platforms.

It is the idea that companies hire more after Labor Day than in the summer months. Yet, it is hard to say whether the hiring phenomenon is legitimate or if it will happen this year.

Data on job openings and the unemployment rate from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics do not verify that the “September Surge” exists. On the other hand, career coaches, hiring managers, and human resources professionals agree that behind the scenes, companies do hire more starting in  September and continuing through the end of the year.

If the surge is real, it could be good news for Black Americans who saw record low unemployment in April.

“It is true that in a lot of industries, around this time, there is an uptick in hiring or at least the intention to do so,” says Brandon Johnson, career coach and founder of Be Gallant Coaching.

What’s behind the “September Surge”? Johnson and Theola DeBose, career change coach and founder of JSKILLS, point to the end of summer. 

No more vacations means the return to work. Johnson says companies usually take time in September to strategically plan for the rest of the year and the start of the new year.

Whether “September Surge” is real or not, the experts agree it’s a great time to look for that new job or prepare to make a career change.

The power is in the hands of job searchers, says Joyce Weru, executive leadership coach, former human resources manager, and founder of Rise Above Coaching. Weru says “people have the ability to engage with any organizations they want to actually work for or that they’re interested in.”

Our experts say the following three things can help you land your next role.

1. Get Clear on Career Goals and Personal Values

Brandon Johnson’s career coaching is focused on job transitioning and searching. Credit: Brandon Johnson

There are better ways to find and land a job than applying to every position on Indeed, ZipRecruiter, or any other hiring or recruiting platform. Experts say that’s not even the first step in the process.

Before diving into job boards, do some background work.

First, Brandon says getting clear and specific about short-term and long-term career goals is essential. Without this, finding a job with value alignment will be more challenging.

DeBose and Johnson have “self-inventory” questions that job seekers can ask themselves about their goals and values.

  • What kind of job do I want to do?
  • Is that the same job I want to hold five to seven years from now?
  • What job responsibilities am I willing to take on?
  • How much money do I want to make?

“If you don’t know what you’re looking for, how will you know when you find it?” DeBose says.

Johnson recommends candidates consider what they can bring to the table or offer a company.

“If I’m a hiring manager, we have certain outcomes we want [candidates] to be able to meet,” he says. “I want to hire based on your ability to meet those outcomes. That’s how I’m assessing your value.”

DeBose agrees. An understanding of professional value is essential for talented professionals.

2. Find Your Dream Role

The search for a new job takes a lot of work. And applying to a job just for the sake of it slows down the process. That’s why it is important to be selective about the types of jobs you might be applying for.

Take companies at their word and stick with your professional values.

Joyce Weru has over 20 years of experience in human resources. She’s also conducting research about Black professionals. Credit: Joyce Weru

When you find that perfect role and company, it’s still not time to apply. The next step is to look at your résumé, cover letter, and any other necessary documents to ensure they fit the job description’s needs.

For example, DeBose says if you know you are looking for a job with a calmer work culture or more work-life balance, it is not a good idea to apply for a job that clearly states they have a fast-paced culture even if the other aspects of the job look good. 

One worry job seekers have is the use of AI and computers to screen out candidates who do not use keywords in their applications. Weru says applicants are right to be concerned about this.

These platforms are intended to help hiring managers get through the hiring process faster. But Johnson says every applicant’s goal should be to provide tailored documents anyway. 

“Because if you don’t submit a well-tailored résumé and cover letter to the job, either way, you’re going to get screened out,” he says.

Weru recommends candidates apply directly on the company’s website rather than recruitment and hiring sites.

3. Moving Into the Interviewing Stage

The interviewing stage is the most exciting and nerve-wracking part of the hiring process.

Theola DeBose is a career change coach and former hiring manager. Credit: Theola DeBose

Before the first interview, research the company, its mission, and its values to ensure they align with the professional values DeBose mentioned in the previous steps.

Be ready to share key stories that showcase your experience and skills. Tell your “career story,” DeBose says. Don’t leave it up to the hiring manager to ask you for more details about previous experiences.

“One thing that I learned as a hiring manager, that I did not know as a job seeker, is don’t be afraid to be very specific about what you did when describing your work,” she says. 

And confidence is key. In DeBose, Johnson, and Weru’s experiences, they found that confident candidates perform best and are more likely to land the job.

“The market right now is very competitive,” DeBose says. “It’s important to keep this reality in mind but not to get too weighed down by it.”

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