People often think that January is the best time of year to find a job and therefore put all their job-hunting efforts on hold until the new year. But is this the best tactic? This guide tells you all you need to know about job hunting at Christmas.
Is January a Good Time to Look for a Job?
Let’s get this question out of the way first. The answer is really yes, and also no. On the one hand, there are more job postings advertised in January and February than during most other months of the year. However, you will also find yourself up against more competition from other job seekers applying for jobs than at any other time of year.
When is the Best Time of Year to Search for a Job?
The hiring process follows a yearly cycle which looks something like this:
- October and November are when many businesses set their hiring budgets for the coming year. Some go straight to market with any job vacancies they have, while others prefer to wait until after the Christmas period.
- December can be a busy month for recruitment because companies want to fill as many open vacancies as they can. Having new talent in place makes them ready to hit the ground running when they return to work after the holiday season.
- January and February are the busiest months for hiring with a massive spike in the number of jobs advertised.
- Between March and April, recruitment activity remains reasonably steady.
- From May onwards throughout the summer months, recruitment activity dwindles because this is when most people take their summer holidays.
- September sees another sharp spike in the number of job vacancies submitted to job boards. This is because companies want to get the staff in place to meet the demands of the festive season.
What Google Trends Tells us About Job Hunting at Christmas
Below is a screenshot from Google Trends. It shows how many people were searching for IT, Digital and Marketing jobs from December 2018 to December 2019. We’re not using data from 2020 because it hasn’t exactly been a typical year!
As you can see, across all three sectors, there is a sharp drop in job searching activity over Christmas and New Year, followed by a peak in January.
What this Means for Job Seekers
Some people worry that job hunting at Christmas is not a good idea, or makes them look bad. Their main fear is that applying to a company while nobody is in the office will result in their application being disregarded. They also believe that applying at a time when they should be celebrating could make them appear a bit ‘bah humbug’.
Firstly, hiring managers don’t concern themselves with whether or not you celebrate Christmas. All your application says to them is that you’re making the effort to get ahead while most other job seekers are thinking of other things. This shows an enormous amount of initiative, which is a highly desirable trait for employers.
Also, applying at a time when most other job hunters are busy will put you right to the front of the queue. This way, when they return to work in January, the very first thing hiring managers will see is your application. What a positive omen for the beginning of a New Year!
How to Get Ahead of Your Competition During the Christmas Break
Many people don’t celebrate Christmas for all different reasons. Maybe their religion celebrates another holiday, or they may not celebrate Christmas for personal reasons. Indeed this year, circumstances may dictate that they have nobody to celebrate with and need something else to take their mind off it.
Whatever your reason for choosing to focus on your career instead of Christmas this year is your concern. No hiring managers will hold this against you; they will just be glad you apply.
So for anyone who wants to get ahead of the competition this year and land themselves a new job, here are our top tips!
Update Your CV
Updating your resume or CV with your latest skills and achievements is the first place to start – but don’t just leave it there! First, check the job boards, and once you identify a suitable opportunity, tweak the first paragraph to make sure it covers all the points they’re looking for.
Some call this a ‘Summary’, ‘Objective’, others call it a ‘Professional Profile’. Some people don’t have one at all and instead prefer to include a cover letter in their application.
Check Yourself Before you Wreck Yourself!
Apart from irritating spelling and grammatical errors, there’s nothing more frustrating for a hiring manager than receiving a knock-out CV with no contact details!
Be sure to spell check your CV, that your telephone number and email address are clearly visible and leave out any irrelevant information.
For example, never include bank details, National Insurance number, marital status, sexual orientation or how many kids you have. Details like this won’t help your application but could leave you open to discrimination or fraud if they fall into the wrong hands.
Apply Consistency and Authenticity
Make sure your social media profiles back up who you say you are on your CV. The most important one is, of course, your LinkedIn profile. If you’re not sure how to update it, or if you don’t have one, this article will help you.
However, it’s not just LinkedIn you need to check. A surprising number of employers will now scan your social media profiles to check if you who you claim to be on your CV stacks up. So make sure you come across as authentic and consistent.
Prepare for The Job Interview
Candidates don’t often prepare for interviews until they get an invitation to one. However, interviewers often want to act quickly, so waiting for an invite may not leave you enough time to prepare. This article offers our expert tips on interview preparation.
Candidates are often extremely nervous about the interview process. If you’re one of them, applying for jobs through a recruitment consultancy can help. Recruitment Consultants often understand the format of their client’s interview process and will help you prepare accordingly.
Always Ask For Feedback
If you do send out your CV over the Christmas break and don’t receive a response from the employer, don’t be afraid to chase it up. There are many reasons employers don’t respond to applicants.
It may be that your skill set doesn’t quite match what they’re looking for, in which case their feedback maybe help guide you in the right direction.
However, their lack of response could quite easily be due to a technology failure while everyone was out of the office. In which case, your application may not have reached the intended recipient.
A Few Final Thoughts on Applying for Jobs at Christmas
Don’t worry about what stage of the recruitment cycle your prospective employer may be at. The best time of year for you to apply for a job is whenever you feel you are ready. If that just happens to be over the Christmas period, they will welcome your application.
The most important thing when applying for jobs is that you do it in the right mindset and prepare sufficiently. In combination, these things will give you the best possible chance of fulfilling your career ambitions in the New Year!
We hope that following our tips above will give you the competitive advantage you need to secure your dream job in 2020. If you found this article useful, please feel free to share it on social media where others can benefit from it too.