If your new year plans include a new job, it’s time to get moving.
Historically, the first quarter of a new year is the ideal time to look for long-term, full-time jobs. This is the case because many companies took a hiatus from hiring during the holidays and are now in need of new workers.
During this holiday freeze, many companies are too busy with other tasks such as reconciling end-of-the-year books, so they put off hiring. They may also be trying to save money to make those books look better even as they understand long-term investment in new employees is necessary for their business growth.
At the same time, workers aren’t beating down the door for a new job as they are also busy with the holidays. They may also want to stay at their current positions, so they don’t miss out on any annual bonuses.
Why is the first quarter the best time to find a new job?
This means come January, many companies have multiple positions to fill. They also have new budgets for the year and have a better idea of what they need and what they can afford. Retirements are also common at the end of a calendar year, opening even more positions in the new year.
January does start slowly for many people as employees return from vacations and start adjusting back to the flow of work. The labor market generally contracts in January so while many positions may be advertised, hiring usually happens later.
By February and March, hiring is in full swing, with lots of phone interviews and first-round interviews.
What do I need to know when filling out applications?
Keep in mind the hiring process may go slower at this time of year since employers have the money, time and resources to choose just the right candidate for a position. It may take longer to reach a final interview and employment agreement, so be patient!
Still be vigilant and follow up after your interview. Because companies are so busy hiring and dealing with other year-start tasks, they may forget to get back with you. If you haven’t received any feedback for a week after an interview, send an email to check the status of the position.
Competition for jobs can also be greater at this time as workers looking for a new start flood the marketplace. So polish your resume, do your research on potential employers and prepare ahead of time for any interviews.
While February is generally considered the month when new year hiring begins in earnest, the hiring push continues for a few months, peaking in April. Make sure you keep applying, even as the calendar creeps toward March.
Summer brings vacation time, so companies will be looking to fill any open positions before their current employees start taking time off.
The first quarter of the year is a prime time to be on the lookout for your next job opportunity, but no matter how it turns out, keep your credentials polished and handy throughout the year. You never know when the next move might present itself, so using this time of year to gain experience and sharpen your approach can pay dividends when it does.