This Is the Bleakest Time of Year For Job Hunting

If you're job hunting and have noticed a decline in responses from hiring managers, take heart. It may have less to do with the typeface on your résumé and more to do with the current calendar month.

Second only to the summertime (June, July, August), the final two months of the year are the worst times to land a new job, and here's why:

  • Slim pickings in the end-of-year budget. For many companies, hiring budgets are more robust at the beginning of the year, and there's much less to play with as the year winds down in November and December.
  • The holidays descend. Holiday madness picks up speed in November (it has already begun!), and by December? Forget it. Not only are employers distracted by all the activity that accompanies the holiday season, many are also taking time off to travel and celebrate.
  • Hiring, as a task, simply takes a backseat. By late Fall/early Winter, people focus on reaching their yearly goals and setting themselves up for a smooth start to the new year. Tasks like sifting through résumés and arranging interviews are pushed down the priority list.

However, this doesn't mean that wintertime job seekers should crawl feebly into a fallen log and hibernate until next year. There is still plenty to do before January and February, which, according to CareerSidekick, happens to be the best time of year for hiring for many industries:

January usually starts slowly as people come back from holiday vacations but . . . hiring picks up pretty fast and lots of interviews start to happen.

Another reason these two months are so good: Companies usually get their new hiring budgets for the year in January, and a lot of the hiring activity that was delayed in November and December can now move forward.

Many companies also pay annual bonuses in December, so a lot of people wait until January to change jobs. Companies expect this so they look to make lots of new hires in January.

For now (and especially in the last two weeks of December), identify and research companies that seem appealing, search around to find out if you have any helpful contacts, and make sure your résumé is in tip-top shape. This way, you'll be poised to kick off the new year with a brand-new job.