Want a Great Job This Fall? Don’t Be Lazy This Summer.

Misha Chellam
Jul 2, 2018 · 5 min read

It’s nice when timing works out.

After itching for a new challenge at the beginning of the year, you realized by spring that you weren’t going to find it at your current company. Now you’ve finally made the decision: you’re going to leave your job, enjoy the summer, and make a change this Fall.

The day after Labor Day you’re going to buckle down and start your job search. This time you’re going to find something that fits: coworkers you can learn from; a company with a mission you’re aligned with; a role you truly enjoy mastering. Right after Labor Day — that’s when this gets real. Now you just need to start adding some specifics to the plan.

The job search shouldn’t take long, you think. A handful of weeks, tops. You’ll hit the ground running, sending out resumes and reaching out to friends whose companies are hiring. You’ll have plenty of time to get a job before the end of the year (which is good, because you only saved up enough money to get you through Thanksgiving).

Like I said, it’s nice when timing works out.

Except, there’s something you’re missing– and it’s going to cost a lot more than you think.

If you wait until after Labor Day to start your job search, you’re unlikely to find a great job until 2019. And that’s going to cost you money — and more.

Don’t believe me? Let’s look at this chronologically…

Over the last four years Tradecraft has helped hundreds of people navigate their job searches. While job seekers consistently underestimate the length of a good job search, making that miscalculation during the summer has outsized consequences. Ironically, summertime is also the time you’re most likely to succumb to desirability bias, where you ignore facts that contradict the thing you want to be true.

Working Backwards

What needs to happen before you start your first day on the new job?

Before you start, you need to sign an offer. [time: 1–2 weeks]

Before you sign an offer, you’re ideally weighing a couple other options. [time: 1 week]

Before you receive an offer, you need to do an onsite interview. Assuming they like you, they’ll give you a verbal offer, negotiate terms, and do reference checks. [time: 1–3 weeks]

Before the onsite, you’ll do a phone screen and challenge assignment. [time: 1–2 weeks]

Before the phone screen, you’ll have applied for the position. Hearing back depends on the company timeline. [time: 1–4 weeks]

Before you can reach out, you need to make sure you’re targeting the right positions with effective outreach. [time: 1–3 weeks]

Before reaching out, you need to get your job assets together including your LinkedIn, resume and portfolio / personal website. And of course you need to start reactivating your network. [time: 1–2 weeks]

Before you get your job assets together, you need to sharpen your skills and build up your portfolio with real projects. [time: depends on circumstance]

Before you build skills and experience, you need to figure out where you want to go with your career. [time: depends on circumstance]

And before you you figure out where you want to go, you need to understand where you are now. [time: 1 week]

OK, so that was lot. Let’s take a look at the calendar:

First things first:

Hiring grinds to a near halt after mid-November.

This makes sense.

Even if you’re willing to hustle and work, founders don’t want to onboard new staff in this time period and don’t want to pay you to go to holiday parties. If you’re not in a new role by early November, you’re very likely to be jobless until well into the New Year.

That means you’re basically giving yourself a two month window to: figure out what kind of role you want, fill in skill and experience gaps, showcase your abilities through job assets, build a list of qualified opportunities, effectively reach out to those companies, go through phone screens, complete assignments, come onsite for interviews, receive and sign an offer, and schedule your start date.

It’s not impossible, but it’s a tall order. And what if something goes wrong, takes longer than you expected?


By not starting your search in time to get hired by the beginning of November, you are basically losing 2–3 months of salary.

Here’s how much that’s going to cost you. Here are a few example annual salaries you might be expecting for your next role:

  • $60,000 offer ($46k after taxes)
  • $80,000 offer ($58.5k after taxes)
  • $100,000 offer ($70.5k after taxes)
  • $120,000 offer ($82.5k after taxes)

Dividing your after tax salary by 12 months and multiplying by 2.5, here’s how much you’re giving up under each scenario:

  • If the offer is for $60,000, you’re giving up $9,583
  • If the offer is for $80,000, you’re giving up $12,188
  • If the offer is for $100,000, you’re giving up $14,688
  • If the offer is for $120,000, you’re giving up $17,188

However comfortable you are financially, that’s quite a lot of money to abandon.

Or, even worse:

You settle for another shitty job you don’t want where you’re not going to learn and grow.

The impact of that for your future career is difficult to calculate, but it’s almost certainly more significant than the financial cost.


We’re not saying you shouldn’t see your friends this summer. We’re not saying you can’t find a day to sit in the sun by the pool. But if you’re stuck in a situation where you’re not growing and are serious about building a meaningful career, you should get started now. We not proposing an exact date, but if your job search is not well underway by Labor Day, your chances of getting a new job in 2018 go way down.

The other option is, of course, to stick it out. Muddle through the fall with your current company, enjoy the holidays, and then get going in the new year.

That might work.

But isn’t that kind of what happened this year?

If you’re motivated to get going now, drop us a line. Over the past few years, Tradecraft has helped a few hundred people transition into tech companies of all sizes like Facebook, Airbnb, Dropbox, Segment, Gusto, Flexport etc. Learn more at Tradecraft.com


Stories about startups, technology, traction, and design from Tradecraft members

Misha Chellam

Written by

Founder @tradecraft, on the lookout for smart, motivated people.


Stories about startups, technology, traction, and design from Tradecraft members

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