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The Best and Worst Time of Year to Look for a Job

The Best and Worst Time of Year to Look for a Job
Credit: Frame Angel/Shutterstock

Job-hunting can sometimes seem like a never-ending process. While you may not have control over the time of year you need to find a job, there are certain seasons that are typically better than others.

Whether you're fresh out of college searching for your first gig or transitioning into something more senior, here are the best and worst times to look for a job.

Every industry and position is different, so there isn't a universal hiring season. However, many experts agree that the beginning of the year is a great time to look for something new for a range of reasons.

"During the transition into the new year and into early February, this is when teams are getting new momentum, adding on new members to accomplish their goals when a business is growing," said Valerie Streif, senior content manager at mock interview platform Pramp.

Shane Green, founder of SGEi, agrees: "Companies complete budgets in October and November, and will post new jobs in December, expecting to hire in January and February," he added.

Many people reflect on their current roles and responsibilities at the end of the year, and make resolutions to find new opportunities in the new year. When people leave for new endeavors, it creates even more job openings for applicants.

"[This is] a time when many people quit or change position, which frees up opportunities for job seekers, too," Streif said. "This shuffle aligns with new year's resolutions and the desire by many for a change."

"Per Monster's 2018 year in jobs report, January continues to be the busiest month for job searches with eight of the top 10 days for job searching landing in January," said Monster career expert Vicki Salemi. "The key to reaching you new year job goals and landing a new job, however, is to maintain momentum well beyond January."

While it's not impossible to get a job the middle of the summer and during the holiday, a good general rule is to avoid looking for a new job during these times.

"During the middle of summer, the least amount of vacancies are posted, not only for seasonal jobs but also regular positions, since teams are usually juggling many different employees taking time off for summer vacation," Streif said. "It's also an awkward time to get started — right in the middle of the year."

Job seekers should avoid applying to positions right before the end of the year because people are stressed out about the holidays and taking PTO. During the slow times, Streif recommends updating your resume and cover letters, research companies and invest in networking.

Green believes the second part of the year is also a worse time to look for a job because companies may tighten budgets and put hiring freezes in place, so budgets are met.

"My best advice is to get into a new role in the first quarter and spend the second quarter excelling in your new role so that if any budget cuts happen, you are someone they want to keep," Green said.   

There might be seasons or months when it's easier to find a job, but the best time to look for something new is continually until you find the perfect fit. 

"The best time is always right now, so keep searching," said Salemi. "Maintain momentum, continue looking and don't give up until you land a coveted offer — the right opportunity is just waiting for you to pursue it."  

For more tips on impressing a hiring manager and landing your dream role, check out this Business News Daily guide.

Saige Driver

Saige received her Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Telecommunications from Ball State University. She is the social media strategist for Business.com and Business News Daily. She also writes reviews and articles about social media. She loves reading and her beagle mix, Millie.