What Is The Best Time Of Year To Apply For A Job?
Now that the New Year has come and gone and you're cruising through your resolutions, if you’re like many people, finding a new job is one of the must-do's on your list. If you want to act while the iron's hot, it's helpful to know the ebbs and flows of when the best times of the year are to apply for a job. Here's our take.
The Wintry Mix
Winter has both the slowest and busiest hiring times. Data suggests historically December is very sluggish with the least number of job openings listed. Typically, people go on vacation or are preoccupied with the holidays, decision-makers are readying their company's end-of-the-year requirements, and hiring budgets are depleted. During the first half of winter, many employers take their focus off hiring until after new budgets are approved, usually leaving this task until the new year.
Employers typically spend January getting back into their routines, picking up the hiring pace towards the end of the month through February. By now, employers have examined their hiring needs for the next year and are ready to spend from their newly established budgets. However, interestingly enough, January 2018 proved to be the strongest month for hiring during a nine-month period, seeing a big 10.9 percent spike from December 2017—earlier than the usual patterns.
Tip: If you find a good opportunity early on, January or February could be the ideal time to jump on it. Hiring budgets may be more flexible for salary negotiation this early in the year.
Spring Blooms Opportunities
Spring has traditionally been viewed as a good season to find job opportunities as companies enter the peak of their first hiring frenzy of the year. As March arrives, employers are eager to fill the empty positions they didn't fill in late January and throughout February. Now is when they usually invest time and energy through early June, posting job listings, sifting through candidates, and lining up interviews. Spring is generally a good time of year to pursue greener pastures.
Summer Takes The Heat Off
Summer is typically viewed as another sluggish time of year to look for a job. At this point, many employers have committed much of their human resource budgets from the earlier hiring surge. Additionally, many decision makers go on vacation or turn their attention to marketing as they get busy planning new product releases. However, on the job hunt side, plan to use this time strategically. For new grads, summer could prove to be the ideal time to apply. In 2017 statistics showed 80 percent of entry-level listings were published by late summer.
Keep in mind, because the hiring process tends to move more slowly during the summer, competition for coveted jobs will also be less. Other job seekers are busy with their own summer vacations, and with fewer candidates in the pool, you have an opportunity to use this to your advantage and pursue these jobs.
Fall Is The Time To Rake Up Prospects
Fall is usually regarded as a great time to apply for a job as another hiring wave tends to take place. Hiring managers are back from summer vacations and ready to turn their attention back to recruitment. Employers who didn't move on filling positions earlier in the year are usually especially ready to amp up their hiring action from early September until about mid-November.
Additionally, decision makers are busy determining future hiring capacity as they plan the next year's budgets. Hiring managers want to use any remaining portions of their budgets due to the "use it or lose it” philosophy commonly found in organizations. They'll be filling positions to demonstrate and show justification to those holding the purse strings they still need their current budget allotments.
One interesting tidbit. Statistics showed monthly job listings peaked in August 2018 at 7.29 million job openings. July was a close second at 7.08 million. Does this shift mean the tide is changing for the best times of year to apply for a job? Definitely something to watch.
A Job For All Seasons
Bottom line, job-hunting is an ongoing process, especially when you want to continue to moving forward on your career track. Also, consider different industries will peak at different times. For example, construction typically sees a huge hiring surge as warmer months arrive, while school districts actively start their candidate searches over the summer.
While following historic trends is a good strategy, other important strategies are to make sure your resume is current, active networking, and developing an elevator pitch. You never know exactly when an opportunity might arise. By being prepared, you'll boost your chances of landing your dream job in any given season.