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

Adam Uzialko
Adam Uzialko
Freelance Editor
Business News Daily Staff
Updated Nov 16, 2021

Looking for a new job? Here are the best and worst times to search for a new gig.

  • Tailor the time of year for your job search to your industry. However, January and February are the most popular hiring months.
  • Avoid the summer and holiday season when looking for a new job, since most companies slow down during these periods.
  • The best time to look for a job is toward the beginning of the workweek and late mornings. This is when most companies update job boards.

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

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

Best 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 a new position, 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 training and consulting company SGEi, agreed. “Companies complete budgets in October and November, and will post new jobs in December, expecting to hire in January and February.” 

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 positions, 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, referring to the data available for that fiscal year. “The key to reaching your new-year job goals and landing a new job, however, is to maintain momentum well beyond January.”

Worst times to look for a job

While it’s not impossible to get a job in the middle of the summer or during the holiday season, a good general rule is to avoid looking for a new job during those 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 time off. During the slow times, update your resume and cover letters, research companies and invest in networking, Streif recommended.

Green believes the second half of the year is also a worse time to look for a job because companies may tighten budgets and put hiring freezes in place to meet budgets.

“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.

How far in advance to look for a job

One challenge of choosing the best time to look for a job is how far in advance to start searching. The ideal timing to start your new job search is one to three months in advance of your preferred employment start date. Two months is likely the best time to look for a job for the majority of professionals. One month may make you feel rushed, while three months could limit your prospects.

There are not only better months, but also better days of the week, to search for a new job. According to an analysis from SmartRecruiters performed on more than 240,000 companies, the best time to look for a job is near the beginning of the week, especially on Tuesdays, which is when recruiters tend to put out new job postings. In addition, most employees are interviewed and hired on Tuesdays. The survey also found that late morning is the best time to look for a job, because that’s when many managers post new listings. With fierce competition among new hires, it’s ideal to apply for a job between the hours of 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Look when it’s best for you

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

“The best time is always right now, so keep searching,” Salemi said. “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.”  

Now that you know the best time to look for a job, it’s time to freshen up your resume and prepare for interviews. If you haven’t updated your LinkedIn profile in a while, now is the perfect time to do so. Use LinkedIn and professional organizations to start networking with people in your industry. Compile a list of references and personal recommendation letters before you start sending out your resume. Browse job boards early to see what types of positions are available.

 

Image Credit:

Jovanmandic / Getty Images

Adam Uzialko
Adam Uzialko
Business News Daily Staff
Adam Uzialko is a writer and editor at business.com and Business News Daily. He has 7 years of professional experience with a focus on small businesses and startups. He has covered topics including digital marketing, SEO, business communications, and public policy. He has also written about emerging technologies and their intersection with business, including artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and blockchain.