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Timing Your Job Hunt – When is the best time of year to look for a new role?

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You got a good review and bonus at the end of December. You’ve had some time off with family and friends over the holidays, but you aren’t sure your current position is going to lead to new experiences or a promotion in the coming year. You’re thinking about starting a job search. When is the best time of year to look for a new role? Here are some tips for timing your job hunt.

Your Attitude

It seems counterintuitive but when you are comfortable and happy is a good time to start a job search. You might be looking for a promotion, a better company or more challenging work versus being dissatisfied in your current position. Being confident about the security of your current position will make you come across more self-assured, positive and motivated for the right reasons in your job interviews. Your approach is more, “If I get this new job, that’s great. If not, I have a perfectly fine job to return to.”

January/February

Beginning the second week of January through the end of February is the prime recruiting time for companies. It doesn’t start immediately after New Year’s because you have to allow people time to get back from their holiday vacation and catch up on their email and pending projects.

What drives this timing your job hunt is the approval of budgets and headcounts at the end of the previous year and the readiness of hiring managers and human resources to dive back in after relaxing time away. The urgency of the help needed through those new headcounts is also a factor.

March/April/May

These are still excellent months for timing your job hunt. Often the searches started in January don’t get resolved until these spring months. Starting your job search now may put you a little behind other candidates but you will still be able to become part of the process – with the right resume sent to the right job. Hiring managers and HR are working hard to fill positions that were approved six months ago.

September/October

The back-to-school mindset seems to re-energize hiring managers and candidates starting a job search. Again, being rested after the lazy days of summer helps, as does the need to fulfill goals before the end of the year. Get your resume out immediately after Labor Day. Everything kicks in much quicker this month that it does in early January.

Summer and Thanksgiving to New Year’s

These are the most difficult times to interview and it’s not because there aren’t openings. Vacations and staff going to conferences and off-site meetings, means all the right people needed for interviewing aren’t in the office all at the same time. Also, when those hiring and those looking for a job have free time during these time periods they want to spend it enjoying the outdoors in the summer or preparing for the holidays in November and December – not adding to their work by recruiting or looking for a job.

A conversation on Reddit noted that while November and December aren’t great months for timing your job hunt, there is often less competition for the roles that are being recruited for – so an opportunity to stand out exists. Some hiring managers are eager to start recruiting after Thanksgiving once they know their headcount is approved so they can have new staff start immediately in January.

Interested in hiring or starting a job search? Contact Smith Hanley Associates’ Commercial Analytics Executive Recruiter, Eda Zullo at ezullo@smithhanley.com

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