What the New Year Means for Your Job Search

graphic of hands being shaken

Is it a good time to look for a new job? There’s no easy answer to that question because it involves too many factors that are unique to each individual job seeker. Nevertheless, hiring patterns have proven, over time, to be cyclical. The good news is that the first couple months of the year tend to offer many career opportunities.

There are a few logical reasons why the first quarter of the year is prime hunting ground for job seekers. For one thing, the holiday season tends to disrupt normal business processes, including the hiring process. Many employees take time off in between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. That makes it difficult for hiring panels to schedule interviews and come to a consensus on hiring new employees. After the holiday season, most employees are back to work and the hiring process can resume.

The other main factor that spurs the spike in hiring in January and February is corporate budgeting. Many companies budget on an annual basis, and staff will receive their approved budgets at the start of the year. With an approved budget in hand, management knows which positions they will be able to fill and job boards usually swell with new job postings.

At the beginning of the year, the job market is probably primed for your job search, but you are also likely to be ready for some major changes at this time of year. The switch from December 31 to January 1 is merely an arbitrary jump on the calendar, but it is packed with cultural and psychological implications.

We have grown accustomed to thinking of the start of the year as a new beginning in our lives. We make resolutions, we set goals for the next 12 months, and we try to break out of ruts and bad habits. Even if you’re not someone who believes in making New Year’s resolutions, you’re probably not immune to the notion that January 1 is a time to reboot. Embrace that idea and put all of your “new beginning” mojo into improving your career.

But beware, you might have some significant competition for jobs during the first quarter of the year. Many other people also experience a desire to reinvent themselves in January and they put “a new job” at the top of their list of New Year’s resolutions. Job search site Monster reported that 5 of the 10 busiest days for job searches in 2015 occurred during the month of January. So if you’re going to hunt for a new job at the start of the New Year, really commit yourself to the task. Polish your resume, refresh your LinkedIn profile, and create an action plan.    

If you’re not quite ready to start looking for a new job tomorrow, rest assured that there are other times throughout the year that tend to favor job seekers as well. The early fall – September and October – is the other period that sees an annual spike in hiring. But why wait nine months to scratch a New Year’s resolution off your to-do list? If a new job is in the cards for 2017, there’s no time like the present.

Written by Erik Siwak, Communications Manager for Bridgepoint Education

Sources:

The Rules for Job Searching Are Different in January. Retrieved December 7, 2016, from https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/job-search-january

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