The Best Times to Apply for Jobs by Season
Published: Oct 18, 2023
The holiday season is fast approaching, and soon many companies will be placing a hold on their hiring activities for the rest of the year. For job seekers, it's important to know which times of the year are most effective when it comes to submitting the old resume to potential employers. Here are the best (and worst) times of the year to apply for jobs.
When applying to jobs during the winter, it's best to wait until after the holiday season. For many companies, December marks the end of the fiscal year, which means they’re more focused on preparing tax returns and various financial reports, rather than hiring new talent. In addition to this, lots of employees seize the opportunity to take off around Christmas and the New Year, so the chances of getting ahold of the hiring manager or receiving any type of response to an application are pretty slim.
By mid-January, most companies are back to business as usual. If they’re entering a new fiscal year, budgets may have been approved, which means they might be prepared to fill any open positions. The bottom line is, winter can be sort of a mixed bag when it comes to applying to jobs, with the best times being between mid-January and the end of February.
Spring is the season of new beginnings, and for first-time job seekers, it also happens to be a great time to find employment. Companies that are looking to fill entry-level positions are aware that the talent pool is about to be filled with recent graduates, so if you’re eager to enter the workforce after college, spring is an excellent time to start.
Professionals are typically less likely to use PTO during the spring, often opting to take vacations during the winter or the summer, so the chances of getting a response or getting in touch with the hiring manager are greater between March and May. Keep in mind that if you’re about to graduate, you can start looking for jobs as early as March.
Unlike winter and spring, summer is more or less a desert of activity when it comes to companies looking to hire new talent. One of the reasons for this is simply because many people like to take vacations during the summer, which means there are less people in the office, including HR representatives and hiring managers. Not only this, but lots of companies hire during the spring, and are less likely to have open positions in the summer.
Of course, there is a possibility you could pick off a recently-vacated position during the summer, but you’d have to stay on your toes to find one. With everything being said, the summer can be a good time to apply for jobs if you’re in education, as certain schools might be looking to hire in July and August for the upcoming school year.
Over the summer, team leaders and managers have a lot of time to think and reflect upon their teams’ performance, along with any changes they might want to make. Upon returning to work in the fall, it’s possible that they’ll start to put such changes into motion, which means new roles may open up.
Keep in mind that the holiday season begins in November, so if you’re looking for a job during the fall, September and October are best. Companies that receive applications early enough will have plenty of time to conduct interviews throughout September and October, so you may be able to land a job before the holidays kick in. If you apply on the later side of the season, you might be left waiting for a response until after the holidays.
Seeing as there’s a fair amount of downtime during the year when it comes to hiring surges, there may be certain times when you’ll be out of luck finding a new job. What you can do is spend that downtime updating your resume, researching companies, curating your social media presence, or creating an online portfolio. If you’re seeing job descriptions in your field that require skills that you don’t have, take the time to develop those skills before you start applying to jobs.
With all this information in mind, do you best to be prepared to apply for jobs on the earlier side. For example, if you’re applying during the fall, September and early to mid-October are more preferable than late October going into November. Always take advantage of any downtime to prepare yourself for the application and hiring process, and be selective and purposeful in the jobs you apply for.