"Financial Planning ... it's not always about money."

Why September Feels Like ‘Back To School’ For Working Adults

David M. Brenner profile photo

David M. Brenner, ChFC®, CLU®

D. M. Brenner, Inc.
Phone : (858) 345-1001
Schedule a Meeting

It’s a bittersweet time of year. The month of September represents a time of change, when many of us segue from a lower gear at work, leisurely summer vacations, and basking in the warm weather to a slight chill in the air, signaling the change of seasons and getting back into the work groove.

September also offers an increase in hiring from pent-up demand, the return of key decision-makers, and workers itching to get their careers back on track and find new and better jobs.


iStock image

Not everyone is ready to return full of vigor. Some still hold onto the summer mindset and unwillingly embrace the adult version of going back to school. You can use this to your advantage by upping your job hunt and career advancement efforts to get noticed, while others are still sitting on the sidelines.

The Summer Mindset

September is an excellent time of year for those looking to find a new job, gunning for a promotion or contemplating changing careers. Many of us subscribe to an unwritten policy — from July through the end of August, we take vacations, enjoy three-day weekends, use our paid time off allotment and, when we work, we do so at a more leisurely pace.

During the summer, it’s exceedingly hard to gain traction in a job search or enhance your career, as there’s a turnstile of managers, human resources, recruiters and business leaders coming from and going on vacation. The unspoken consensus is that we’ll coast throughout July and August and step up our game once September starts and everyone gets back into work mode.

A New Beginning

Interestingly, the Jewish New Year of Rosh Hashanah is in September. The holiday is a symbol of renewal and fresh beginnings. Rosh Hashanah means "head of the year," representing the start of the Jewish calendar. It's the idea of starting over with a clean slate.

In the temple, the shofar, a ram’s horn, is blown as a wake-up call, offering a time for self-reflection and improvement. About 10 days later, another holy day, Yom Kippur, is a time of atonement, spiritual introspection and making amends for past misdeeds to build a fresh start.

Back To Reality

Many managers start scrambling to find workers as hiring gears up again. Since the interview process may have been spotty—at best—over the summer, there’s a pent-up need to fill mission-critical job openings after Labor Day.

People returning well-rested from vacations are ready and eager to reignite their job searches and attain their long-term career ambitions. Since human resources professionals, internal corporate recruiters and hiring managers are streaming back to work, the wheels start in motion.

After putting off sending out résumés during the summertime, feeling that they’re only going into the abyss, job seekers start submitting résumés in earnest. They contact recruiters and look to career coaches, mentors, résumé writers and LinkedIn experts for guidance.

Before You Know It, It’s The Holiday Season

It’s hard to wrap your mind around this, but in only three months, we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving Day, and then the winter holiday season will commence. Like the summer, once this time of year is upon us, people are out of the office on vacation, and to spend time with their families.

Companies traditionally offer annual reviews, promotions, compensation increases and bonuses toward the end of the year. You have about four months to make an impact. Instead of coming back complaining about the end of summer and all the work you have to do, show that you are hungry, enthusiastic and eager to make things happen.

Start looking for ways to make yourself stand out. See if there are any outstanding matters that you can take care of and improve upon. Raise your hand to take on new and challenging projects and initiatives. Ask your boss how you can help them. Inquire about what you must do to take your career to the next level. Keep an ongoing list of your accomplishments, wins and achievements, so you’ll be prepared for the end-of-year performance review.

Keep Your Options Open

To hedge your bets, tap into your network to gauge whether there are any exciting job opportunities outside of your company and seek out informational interviews. Reach out to recruiters specializing in your space and see if any suitable roles are available. Update your résumé and LinkedIn profile. Clean up your social media footprint so that nothing hinders your chances of getting a new job.

© 2024 Forbes Media LLC. All Rights Reserved

This Forbes article was legally licensed through AdvisorStream.

David M. Brenner profile photo

David M. Brenner, ChFC®, CLU®

D. M. Brenner, Inc.
Phone : (858) 345-1001
Schedule a Meeting