When Is the Best Time of the Year to Look for a Job?
Every season brings something different. For example, summer is the perfect time to go to a ballpark and watch a baseball game. Fall is all about pumpkin spiced lattes. Winter is a time to wrap yourself in blankets and watch Netflix in front of a crackling fire. Did you know that job opportunities are also affected by the seasons? If you are looking for a job or thinking about a career change, you should understand the seasonable patterns. For instance, it has been said that the holiday season and the summer are the worst times to look for a job. On the other hand, the beginning of the new year seems to be hiring season. The bottom line is that if you are looking for a job, there are certain months that are most ideal for job opportunities. Read on to figure out when to start applying for jobs and learn more about how to find work.
The Start of the New Year Is Full of Job Opportunities: January and February
January and February are the best months for people looking for jobs. This is especially true if you are applying for jobs for the purpose of long-term stability. The reason why the start of the New Year is the ripe for job hiring is that companies have updated their annual budgets and have received their sales forecasts. As a result, they can determine whether they have the money to hire new employees.
Note that the beginning of January is not considered the time to hire. Everybody is just coming back from their winter vacations and it will take a few weeks to get back into the proper routine. Thus, it is the end of the month that HR departments consider the best time to interview.
On the other hand, the downside to applying for jobs at the beginning of the year is that companies are not necessarily in any hurry to hire. Companies can take advantage of the fact that they have the time, money and resources to be selective about who they choose. So if you are doing some career planning in January or February, take the saying "patience is a virtue" to heart.
Springtime Is the Right Time: March, April and May
While companies are most inclined to look for new employees in January and February, the months of March, April and May can be decent for seeking jobs. However, keep in mind that at this point most of the really good jobs advertised in the earlier months will have been filled by March, which means your options in April and May are not as appealing.
On the other hand, as May approaches companies tend to have a sense of urgency when it comes to hiring since the HR staff and job recruiters want to get through the interviews and make their decisions before their summer vacations start. Furthermore, companies often use the last spring to start releasing new products. So if you are looking to be hired quickly, this is the best time to do it.
The Dog Days: June, July and August
If you are hoping to land a dream job in the summer, do not be disappointed if nothing opens up. By this stage of the year, a lot of companies will have spent their HR budgets on new employees. As a result, hiring managers and recruiters are not posting a lot of openings. For some companies it could be due to a lack of resources while other companies are simply busier during the summer season preparing for autumn hires, analyzing trends and giving corporate the 411.
Companies in most career fields are not offering much in the summer, and if they are it is likely to be entry-level work and low-pay. But this doesn't mean you shouldn't start making your plans. Do some research on the companies; get in touch with some employees and hiring managers. By taking the initiative and preparing early, you will be ready when positions start opening up.
Of course, if you have recently been laid off or are determined to change careers, you are not necessarily out of luck. The fact that summer is kind of a slow time does not mean there are literally no jobs available. It also does not mean you cannot find something good. It is just that you will have to develop a plan. Look through job recruitment websites. LinkedIn is another option. Many recruiters use it to find good candidates, even when they have taken a pause from hiring new staff.
Fall Forward: September and October
You are probably noticing a trend: as the seasons change, so do the hiring patterns. Fall is the last opportunity of the year to go on a hiring spree. People are back from their vacations, school is in session again, and the pace of work is returning to normal. As a result, hiring managers are back to screening applications and interviewing candidates. People are feeling fresh and eager to stay on top of things, which means the interview and hiring process goes much more smoothly. Another plus when it comes to hiring in the fall is that companies want to use up whatever remains from their budget. There is also the fact that at this stage of the year company staff have moved on to other jobs, many of whom had been hired earlier in the year. Thus, there is pressure to fill those vacant positions.
Winter Has Come: November and December
When November and December arrive, the only jobs available are those part-time positions at retail stores. Unless you are eager to stock shelves or work as a cashier during the holiday shopping season, the pickings will be slim. Company employees are busy planning their winter vacation to Hawaii or getting ready for those Christmas parties. In other words, our life away from work takes priority for a few weeks. Hiring managers simply are not going to hire people as Christmas and New Year's Day approach. In addition, the annual budget is running dry and nobody will know what the company's financial situation will be until January. Cold weather and snow also tends to make people lethargic and less productive.
Preparing for the Job Search
Are you reading this during a low hiring period? If so, do not worry! Use this opportunity to start planning for your job search. If you stay ahead of the curve, you will be more prepared than other potential candidates. Here are some ways to keep yourself busy as you wait for a good hiring season to arrive.
Keep your resume updated
When searching for a job, it is important that your resume is current. Do not put this off either. In addition, make sure that you keep several versions of your resume depending on the job requirements and field of work. A good strategy is to update your resume about once every 3 months, highlighting any achievements. If you make the first day of every new season "update my resume day" it will increase the odds that you will commit yourself to the task.
Find ways to enhance your skills
As they say, you never stop learning. Sign up for seminars or evening courses in an area that can improve your marketability. Better yet, enroll in an online graduate program and earn your master's degree. These days even reputable universities are beginning to offer them.
Often the biggest challenging to finding a job is simply getting started. You might struggle with updating your resume. Your busy life seemingly prevents you from preparing for a new career. But if you have the desire and will power, nothing should come in the way of your dreams. Practice interviewing for a job and develop new skills related to the job you are seeking. Nothing that is worth your time is done right away, so be patient and think positive thoughts!