I often get asked when is the best time to search for a new job. Is there a specific hiring season? The rumour is to stay clear of companies during the holiday season, not to mention the slow period at the beginning of each year. However, there are many varied factors involved in when is the best time to search. So to make it easy, we have broken it down into seasons.
New Year rewards new jobs: January and February
January and February is the busiest time of the year for recruitment and definitely the best time of the year to look for a job. These are two of the best months to look for long-term, full-time jobs. These are the months most companies receive updated budgets and sales forecasts. Executives have a better idea of what they need and whether they can afford to hire new team members. Career advisors actually consider these the top months for hiring.
Keep in mind January starts slow for most people. Employees returning from the Christmas break and school holidays and will take a few weeks to re-organise their workflow. Accordingly, wait until the middle or latter part of January to send your resume out. Keep an eye on job boards and set up an alert so you receive up to date postings.
Fall into more jobs: March, April, and May
Even though companies hire more staff in January and February, autumn still is a good time to apply. The late summer hiring season surge typically lasts well into early winter, allowing hiring managers time to advertise new jobs.
The biggest benefit of applying for a job during May is the sense of urgency. Many hiring managers are finalizing end of year budgets and need to fill a certain quota before the beginning of the new tax year.
Jobs take vacations, too: June, July, and August
This time of the year can depend on a number of factors, however, historically it can be quieter during the new tax year whilst companies bed down their new budgets and evaluates their staffing needs.
For those who are determined to find a new career or maybe recently lost their job, there are a few options. The ‘new financial year’ slowdown doesn’t mean that there a zero jobs, nor does it mean you won’t find a great opportunity. You just have to search harder. Applicants who use job boards or have a good relationship with their recruiter have a better chance than job seekers using the newspaper or local resources. Another great resource is LinkedIn. Many recruiters actively search LinkedIn for potential candidates, even during their hiring freeze.
Springtime freshness: September and October
As we explore the changing season, you’ve probably spotted a recurring pattern – hiring season happens in waves. Spring represents the third, and final, hiring spree of the year. As businesses settle into a groove there tends to be a rush to fill positions before the Christmas slow down.
Another pro to spring hiring is the desire to use all resources. Executives figure positions still open at the end of the year are redundant and useless. Many hiring managers face a decision to fill positions or lose them entirely. Human resources also is pressed to fill vacant positions for those who fled soon after being hired earlier in the year.
The Summer sillies: November and December
Unless you’re looking for a seasonal job or other mediocre position that pays the bills, the beginning of summer marks the start of a slow down. November is the beginning of the holiday season for most families. There are shopping lists to complete, travel arrangements to make and parties to plan. As our personal calendar enlarges, our professional life takes a backseat. Hiring managers start putting off recruitment and hiring tasks until the following year.
There are other roadblocks barricading hiring managers from selecting new candidates. Human resources often face budget constraints during the last two months of each year. They’re forced to wait for new finances and expanding opportunities before moving forward, not to mention most of the company’s positions are likely filled this late in the game.
Preparing for the job search
You don’t have to give up just because it’s not the best time of the year to look for a job when you’re ready. The slow hiring months are optimal for preparing for your search and increasing your chances for winning that key position. Here are some tips to prepare for the job search.
- Keep your resume updated. One of the most important aspects of any job search is updating your resume. Don’t wait until the last minute. Keep an updated resume template. You can use it to easily customize your resume to the specific job. Try to update your resume quarterly or, at the very least, once a year. Schedule the time in your calendar to help you remember and stay committed to the task.
- Increase your skills or add new experience. Education is a never-ending story, literally. We must continuously upgrade our skills and learn new areas to advance in our careers. Increase your marketability by taking a certification course. Or add new abilities to your portfolio by taking a night-time business class at your local college. Have you thought of getting your master’s degree? There are several reputable online universities that help professionals.
- Don’t give up. Sometimes, the hardest part of job hunting is simply getting started. You may draw a blank while editing your resume. Many times our schedules get in the way of preparation and career advancement. Schedule some time each month to upgrade your skills or practice a mock interview. Never give up. Starting the search, regardless of the time of year, isn’t easy. It takes time and patience to succeed. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Your job search won’t end in a day either.