Q&A: When Is the Best Time of Year to Look for a Job?
Updated February 21, 2023
As 2021 begins and we continue to deal with the impact of COVID-19 on the labor market (and our jobs), it may help to know the best times to look for jobs as we begin the new year. As many organizations start their new fiscal year in January, you may find more openings are available in the coming months.
For the best chances at securing a job offer, it is always best to consistently seek out and apply for jobs that fit your preferences, background and qualifications. Knowing the optimal times to look for a job may help to understand when you could expect a boost in openings, and therefore, your job search.
In this article, we'll discuss the best times throughout the year to look for jobs along with job search tips to find your next opportunity.
The best time of year to find a job
Companies tend to hire most in January and February. This is mainly because of new hiring budgets that go into effect at the beginning of a new year. This is also the time of year that many corporate employees, including hiring managers, return from their holiday vacations. Also, work slows down during the winter months, which creates more space for time-consuming projects like writing and posting job openings.
A seasonal guide to job searching
Every month has unique advantages and disadvantages concerning hiring. Here is what you can expect during these specific seasons:
Historically, December is the slowest month for hiring. People tend to use the bulk of their vacation time during this month as they travel out of state and make plans for the holidays. The office environment feels more relaxed. It is common for departments to notice employees working at a slower pace as they become involved in holiday activities. For those who have met their insurance deductibles, December is a good month to schedule doctor appointments and surgeries.
Although January and February are known as the top months to get hired, you may experience slower than usual responses the first two weeks of January as employees return from vacations. But in general, if you're looking to get hired, these are the best months to pursue job openings. The new year inspires hiring managers to accomplish the tasks they've been putting off. Much of that inspiration originates from updated budgets that allow managers to make important decisions, like hiring additional staff members.
February is the best month of the year to find a job because workers are back in the office and working at their usual pace. Job listings posted in January produce a great number of candidates by February, which motivates employers to start scheduling interviews, and ultimately, hire new people.
The months of March, April and May are also great months to get hired. People in management positions often feel pressure to train new hires before the summer in anticipation of road trips and vacations with family. If managers complete the process of hiring during the spring months, they feel freer to spend time away from the office later.
One thing to keep in mind when applying for jobs during spring is that the competition may increase, especially if a listing has been up since January. That's why it's important to update your resume and highlight any valuable experiences you've had that show you're the best fit for the position.
Like early winter, the summer months of June, July and August may be challenging times to find a job. Because school is out for summer, family vacations and getaways become the priority for many parents in management positions. The opportunity to travel to other states that have good summer weather also motivates people to take time off during this period. As a result, job interviews may become a lower priority, unless a company urgently needs a new employee.
Remember that every company has unique needs that don't always follow the trends. You may still get hired any time of year, but it just may take longer during the months that offer the most excitement and distraction from work. We will also likely continue to see an impact on vacation and travel due to COVID-19, which makes hiring rates difficult to predict.
If you're looking to get hired, the fall season is promising. The months of September and October tend to mimic the months of January and February in terms of hiring activity. This is because people are again returning from vacations and feel ready to focus on filling positions. The fall months inspire people to take action as kids return to school and the weather gets cooler. There is a sense of urgency to get things in order before winter hits.
Starting in November, hiring activity begins to decrease due to the Thanksgiving break period near the end of the month, which has people once again looking at more vacation time away from work. The best times for an interview during November are within the first two weeks. Recognize that it may take longer to hear back from an employer. Allow time for the hiring manager to get back to you if you've recently submitted a resume or completed an interview.
Tips for getting hired any time of the year
Now that you've learned the best time of year to find a job and get hired, you may consider the following tips to increase your chance for success:
1. Update your resume.
As you advance in your career and learn new skills, regularly tailor and update your resume. Try to do this quarterly so that you'll be prepared to apply for any enticing job opportunities that materialize. Setting a reminder on your phone calendar is a great way to schedule these resume updates.
For personalized resume assistance, get matched to a professional resume editor through Indeed for a resume review or rewrite, or receive a free instant resume report that offers specific, actional feedback. To get started, visit resume-review.indeed.com.
2. Keep learning.
Hiring managers appreciate candidates who possess the latest skills and knowledge in their industry. That's why it's a good idea to look for ways to keep learning and building upon your background. Additionally, if you've been out of a job for a long period of time, explaining that you've been using the time to invest in your skillset is a great way to impress employers.
Explore online courses and classes offered in your community — there are hundreds of both free and paid options. Doing so can help set you apart from other candidates. In some careers, earning certain certifications can help you get hired and increase your earning potential.
3. Continue to make progress.
Despite slow hiring months, it is best to keep up your job search by regularly applying for positions that interest you and fit your qualifications. The hiring process takes time and patience. It's important to remember that every effort, large or small, helps get you closer to your goal of getting hired. If you're not getting responses from your applications, consider the following job search tips...
If you're not getting application responses ...
Reconsider the kinds of jobs you're applying to. Are you a good match for the position? Do you meet all of the education, skill and experience requirements?
Revisit your resume. Are you using keywords from the job description? Have you included only the most relevant information about your skills, background and qualifications? Is it professional, clean and easy to read? Have you included numbers that prove your impact in your professional experience bullets?
Apply more regularly. Try setting a weekly application goal to ensure a consistent job search and help improve your chances of moving on in the hiring process. Reward yourself in small, meaningful ways when you hit your goal each week.
If you're not getting callbacks after interviews ...
Refresh your interview skills. Practice your responses to common interview questions without sounding too rehearsed.
Ask your interviewers for feedback. They may not respond, but if they do, it can provide valuable information about what to improve for next time.
4. Be flexible.
When you need a fast exit from your current job due to an uncomfortable work environment or other circumstances, recognize that you may need to be flexible in your expectations for another job. Sometimes temporary jobs, also known as bridge jobs, are a great solution for people who need fast results. Finding remote gig work such as an administrative assistant or data clerk may offer great flexibility as you continue to search for the ideal position related to your past roles.
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