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Are The Holidays The Best Time Of Year To Search For A New Job?

November 21, 2018

Yes, but that answer is not for the reasons you may think.

Many professionals, job seekers included, can be absurdly preoccupied around the holidays. Gatherings, travel, winter break from schools, dinners, and shopping all have a way of pushing job searches to the back burner. However, these behaviors can be wildly beneficial for those looking to capitalize on any competitive advantage they can find.

While the majority have put aside their resumes to focus on everything the holiday season brings, focusing instead on getting your application into the hands of recruiters and HR professionals could prove dividends in the New Year.

It’s important to remember that the slowdown in job seeking behaviors doesn’t coincide with a slow period for businesses and thus their staffing needs. The obvious examples are the retail, operations, and financial services industries. While many professionals are planning their vacation time, these industries are ramping up into their busiest time of year. That means shoring up their staffing needs to meet their increased operational demands.

The holidays also mean for many companies there is a ticking clock on their fiscal year. This means they will be heavily invested in finalizing their business and budget goals for the New Year, which often include increasing their job force, closing out final deals, and negotiating acquisitions of new projects. Companies want to be assured that when they return on January 2nd, they’ll have the firm footing needed to carry over the previous year’s successes, often going hand-in-hand with being fully staffed.

Don’t Make Your Job Search a New Year’s Resolution

Yes, the increase in job availability seen every January is attractive for submitting an application, but the same goes for every professional, not just those who have been searching for a new opportunity. The New Year means many companies will have their recruiting and hiring budgets refreshed, and as a result, professionals from all corners will be drawn into the open market.

What makes January even less advantageous to the job-seeker is the New Year’s resolution effect: a surge of professionals looking to make a fresh start of the New Year. This will make it even harder for your resume to stand out and the compounding noise in the marketplace will make it difficult for employers and recruiters to find and select you for their openings.

So rather than waiting to January 2nd to get your resume in the field, use the time going into the holidays to get your resume and application at the top of the pile; getting ahead of your competition. HR offices are always running and recruiters never stop looking. As long as you don’t mind the chance of waiting for the New Year to get interviews, the holiday period can be a great time to start your job search.

Job Searches and Businesses Fiscal Year

The other reason to strongly consider ramping up your job search during the holidays has less to do with you, and more to do with the company you are applying to.

Generally, companies prefer their fourth quarter to be the strongest of the year, allowing them to end on a high note. That said, not every company has their fourth quarter ending on December 31st. Some companies (such as Apple Inc., Microsoft Corporation, and Adobe Systems Inc.) have chosen their fiscal year to suit their business needs. They’ve arranged their financial reporting and fourth quarter wins to strategically land at a different time of year.

The key reason for companies choosing a different fiscal year-end is often due to the seasonal fluctuations of their business and the availability of supplies. By changing their fiscal year, it allows them to limit the negative seasonal impacts and prepare their financial statements during slower periods of the year. Similarly, companies that depend on U.S. government contracts might choose a September 30th year-end to align with the federal government’s.

This means, that the holidays could be a business’s best time to make strategic hiring and staffing decisions, as it falls during their first quarter; making it the best time to get your name in front of their HR and recruiting offices.

Holiday Season Highlights

October: While not a “holiday” month, it’s important to mention that October 1st is the start of the government fiscal year. This means new budgets for hiring.

November: Many companies are heavily focused on making their final hires before the calendar year ends. While some may have dwindling budgets, it’s often paramount to show Q4 strength and establish a solid footing for Q1. That said, the final weeks of November will see a slow down due to the Thanksgiving/Black Friday window where many companies are either closed or focused on sales.

December: A shortened month due to the holidays but this month can often be “business as usual” for many companies.  December is the end of Q1 for the government and other companies like Apple. While this can mean lots of companies are staffing up, it also can mean slower business processes from federal holiday regulations.

January: The first two weeks might be slow as people return from holidays and vacations, but refreshed budgets for recruiting and hiring will spark a “fast and furious” HR offensive. That said, this trend is very predictable and many seasonal or contract employees rely on this time of year to put their applications in.

Remember, Don’t Overthink the Timing

While this article is intended to guide you to make strategic decisions about your job search, don’t overthink it!

Don’t let this article discourage you or stop you from applying when you’re ready. If anything, this article should emphasize that the truth is you can get a job in any month. Openings come up in companies for an abundance of reasons and companies make staffing decisions based on an ever-evolving landscape.

Regardless of the timing, Comrise can fuel your job search efforts and get you in front of key hiring managers in booming industries. Despite any noise in the marketplace, if it’s the end of the fourth quarter or not, our leading technology and analytics enhance our capabilities of finding you a top-tier job.

If you are thinking about finding a new position for the New Year, now is the time to seize the moment and Comrise can help.

Apply to our current jobs today!

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