Job Search Tip of the Week #11 (2017)


The Best Time to Look for a Job?

Is it true that “to everything there is a season”?

If you subscribe to our e-newsletter Make the Connection, you know that we asked our network “When’s the best time to conduct your job search?” We let our poll run for a month or so, and now we’ve got the results. Drum roll, please!

Interestingly, no one thought “July – September” or “October – December” were good periods for job hunting. Most responded with “All the time” (42.86%), followed by “Whenever I want a new job” (28.57%), “January – March” (14.29%), and “April – June” (14.29%). We’re happy to say that according to our IT recruitment experts, the majority of you were right!

You should always be looking for new opportunities, even if you’re happily employed. Because what if the perfect position opened up at your dream company? And since you were contentedly toiling away without your ear to the ground, it passed you by?

Even if it’s not your dream job, if the description piques your interest, it wouldn’t hurt to ask for an informational interview. Look at it as an opportunity to build relationships with influential professionals, not to mention gather occupational and industry knowledge.

In fact, while you’re gainfully employed is the best time to consider new roles. You won’t feel pressured to take the first offer that comes along, and will be able to compare your current employment situation with job prospects to determine which is more advantageous for you and your career. And if you do decide that you’d rather stay than go, you can always use the salary intel in your next raise negotiation!

If your excuse is “Looking for a job is a full-time job, and I have one already,” that’s what recruiters are for! Recruiters make staying on top of new jobs/pending applications and arranging interviews easy for you, whether you’re currently employed or not. At Chase Technology Consultants (CTC) for example, we maintain an in-depth dialogue with each of our candidates in order to develop a recruitment strategy designed specifically for their situation and needs. Employed and just want to stay informed? We’ll reach out occasionally to check in and let you know of only those job opportunities that fit your search parameters. Conducting a stealth job search? We won’t blow your cover; we’ll represent you anonymously and only share your full information with our clients when we have your explicit consent. Actively looking? We’ll introduce you to hiring managers and even unadvertised opportunities.

All this being said, there are definitely certain times of the year that are more conducive to job hunting than others. Although they vary by industry and company, generally you’ll see that mid-January through March tend to be the busiest hiring months, and May through August the slowest. And if you want to lock in a New Career in the New Year, you need to start your search before Thanksgiving, in September and October. Hiring tends to stall during the summer months and Thanksgiving through New Year’s as everyone takes vacation or focuses on completing essential tasks in anticipation of doing so.

Again, hiring stalls, but doesn’t stop – and your job search shouldn’t either! In fact, most companies base their fiscal year off the calendar year, which means that departments get renewed budgets and new projects around New Year’s, giving them the means and the need to hire new people. By applying during the lull, you’ll avoid the influx (read: competition) of prospective graduates who usually start job hunting in the spring and candidates who return to their search after the holiday rush.

That being said, patience is a virtue when it comes to job hunting, and especially so during the summer and the holidays. A job search during these times means working around vacation schedules and company events, so be mindful you may wait a bit longer than usual for a response. It’s also quite possible for résumés and correspondence sent during or leading up to prime travel dates to go unnoticed, forgotten, or unanswered. (Don’t panic! Follow up diligently, but don’t be annoying.) Still, you’d be wise to keep your job search moving because less applicants tend to apply during these times out of fear of being overlooked. Just take your time to be selective about where you’re applying and ensure you’re submitting quality applications.

Keep in mind too that contract and seasonal job opportunities tend to be abundant during the holidays and summer. If you’re not interested in those, take advantage of time off by completing tasks integral to a successful job search, such as updating your résumé and LinkedIn profile, gathering professional references and recommendations, conducting company and industry research, practicing interview questions, attending networking events, etc. That way, when the right opportunity presents itself, you’ll be ready and able to jump on it!

And above all, the best time to job hunt is when you’re happy. If you’re stressed out with your current workload and/or personal life, it’s best to put your job search on pause so you don’t make commitments you can’t keep. Feeling overwhelmed can lead to subpar job and interview performance – just disappointed, burned bridges all around that negatively impact your current and future employment. Scale your search and expectations to match the time and effort you can afford to invest.

    Key Takeaways

    • You should always be on the lookout for new opportunities and pursue leads that pique your interest, even if you’re already employed.
    • However, the best time to job search is always when you are positive, willing to consider a new job, and are able to commit to the interview process!
    • Recruiters can be great resources, especially if you want to know about unpublished job openings or can’t treat your job search as a full-time job.
    • Hiring activities peak in the months before and after vacation and holiday breaks – in January through March, and September and October – but recruitment cycles do vary by company and industries.
    • However, that doesn’t mean your job search should too. There are benefits to continuing your job search during slow hiring periods! Play up recruitment peaks, but don’t wait until then to start preparing and looking.

    Blogging Forward,

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