Time for a Change? The Best Time of Year to Kick Off a Job Search

published Sep 8, 2016
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(Image credit: Sarah Hdruka)

Anyone who has ever had to look for work knows that the process itself is basically like having a full-time job. You have to polish your resume, scour the job boards for the perfect position, hit up your network for references and craft so many cover letters that they all start to blur together. And if your job search drags on for a long while, you can end up feeling exhausted and disheartened.

In order to avoid job hunt burnout, consider being strategic in the times of year you launch your job search. Executives Online, a recruitment management company, analyzed their data surrounding new client briefings and candidate registrations to determine when in the year job searching reaches a fever pitch—that is, when most companies are actively hiring and when most employees are searching for work. Time it right, and you will save yourself a lot of frustration and improve your chances of finding your dream job.

Avoid the New Year

There is something very empowering about making New Year’s Resolutions. Taking some time off after the holidays and using your downtime to reflect and plan can help you start the year with much needed clarity. But you might want to consider leaving a career move off the early resolutions list. There are plenty of jobs listed in January, but because finding a new job is a very popular goal at the start of the year, you lower your chances of standing out. In January the ratio of candidates to new jobs is 24% higher than in February.

Skip the Holidays

Because of the busy holiday season, December is the worst month of the year in terms of the amount of new job postings. By job hunting in December, you are limiting your options and could be missing out on better opportunities available other times of the year. Easter also throws the job market off. In eight out of ten years, April’s listings have been lower than March. But if you are trying to make a big career move, competition is also lower in April.

Beware of the Summer Slump

Following December, August is the second worst month of the year to search for a job. With family vacations in full swing, August is a tricky time for employers to hire and candidates to interview. The job market starts levelling off in June, declining each month until September when it surges back to full strength.

Prime Months

Now that you know what times of year it might be best to avoid when searching for a new job, consider the following months green-lit rev up your search: On average, November, February, March, May, June and October are months in which the number of new jobs exceeds the yearly average.