You have a key advantage if you look for a job this time of the year

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You might not realize it, but there’s a time of the year that can give you the best chance at getting a new job. Take a guess. What time of year do you think it is?

I will give you a hint. It’s not the summer. During the summer, human resources budgets are already heavily taxed and hiring managers tend to take vacations during the warmer months of the year when their kids are off of school.  

It’s also not the winter, especially toward the beginning. The holiday season takes time to fully manage with parties to plan, bonuses to distribute and HR budget restrictions. And, many hiring managers and job seekers take vacations or maintain unpredictable schedules during the holiday season, making interviewing tougher during this time of year. 

So, when is one of the best times of year to look for a new job?

Look for New Jobs in the [Early] Spring

Springtime – especially early spring, is one of the best times to look for a new position. Not only are temperatures warming up, so too are hiring budgets and an opportunity to score a new job. 

This happens for several reasons:

Sales forecasts

Businesses need the staff in order to meet sales forecasts and goals for the coming year. And, the first quarter of the year is when most businesses look to boost their staff.

And, hiring managers very often take less time to make hiring decisions in the first quarter of the year, too, because most of the decision-makers are back from holiday vacations and in the office.    

Staffers are generally taking less time off this time of year since they’re just coming out of the holiday season, which helps speed up the hiring process in quarter one, as well, writes Monster. 

HR budgets are fresh

At the beginning of the year, human resources hiring budgets are fresh and fully-stocked for the coming year, which means hiring additional staff members is much easier for the company. Take advantage of this by submitting your resume starting in late January. 

Summer vacations are approaching

Strangely enough, looming summer vacations can help your chances at getting a job in the spring. Hiring managers are more willing to make hiring decisions just for the sake of getting positions filled before their own vacations – or the vacations of other key decision-makers. 

“As you get closer to summers, companies feel more pressure to finish the interview process and hire somebody,” writes Career SideKick. “This is because they know people in the company will go on vacation in the summer and it’ll be harder to finish up the hiring process.”

It might seem like a cheap way to get a job, but it shouldn’t matter. The bottom line is if you get the job, then you’re making money and [hopefully] adding value to the organization. And more times than you probably realize, timing can make all the difference. 

College graduates are looking for work

The springtime is when college graduates emerge into the job market and are looking for work, and many companies like to scoop up these graduates because most recent grads won’t be looking for top dollar from their salaries – yet. 

But, there’s a downside to all these college grads entering the market: competition for open positions heats up. As new job seekers flood the market, the number of resumes that hiring managers receive for open positions increases substantially – making your resume so very important to get right (and proof-read meticulously!). 

When possible, get your resume submitted before spring. 

5 Essential Tips for Job Seekers

These tips work for any job that you apply for – springtime or not. And, most of them might appear to be obvious. But, you may be surprised at how many easy mistakes job seekers still make. In fact, it happens all the time. 

Use these 5 tips to maximize your chances at getting that job. 

Tip #1: Start applying in late January if you can. Hitting the job trail in late January gives employers enough time to get back into the groove of doing business after the holiday season. And, it’ll give you every opportunity to get your resume in front of hiring managers with fresh budgets and a willingness to hire. Don’t wait for the spring. 

But if you’ve recently found yourself unemployed, apply for jobs before the summer if you can. 

 

Tip #2: Tailor your resume. Resist the temptation to build a single resume for every type of job. As a former hiring manager myself, trust me when I say it’s easy to tell how much time each job candidate put into their resume.

For example, rearrange your skills section by citing the most important skills for that job first. Also, reword your experience by hitting on specific qualifications for the job you’re applying for. In other words, make your resume irresistible for that specific job, not just generic. 

 

Tip #3: Stop filling your resume with buzzwords. Most hiring managers don’t want to read a bunch of buzzwords on your resume. These days, everyone is a “passionate” and “objective” team player who “thinks outside the box” on “creative solutions”. 

Believe it or not, you don’t need to tell the hiring manager those things. Buzzwords won’t move the needle for them on your resume. 

What are some other buzzwords that you should leave off of your resume? 

Here are a few examples:

  • Problem solver
  • Detailed oriented
  • Spearhead
  • Team player
  • Proactive

There are too many to list, but those are some of the most common buzzwords I’ve seen, and while their inclusion didn’t always convince me – as a former hiring manager in the information technology sector, to ditch the resume, they certainly didn’t help.

And, don’t begin your job responsibilities with “My responsibilities included” or “Responsible for”. Instead, use a more active term like “Managed”, “Lead”, “Built” or “Created”. 

 

Tip #4: Close well. Believe it or not, your first impression with a hiring manager is often just as important as your last. Closing your interview well leaves the manager with a good impression of the interview which, in turn, drastically improves your chances of a job. 

A few tips for closing your interview well include giving a firm handshake, sincerely thanking them for their time, asking insightful questions and restating why you are the perfect candidate for the position. 

Taking just a few extra steps at the end of the interview can make a world of difference. 

 

Tip #5: Network, network, network. Did you know that just submitting your resume online to a job opportunity works just 4% of the time? That’s not a pretty statistic. 

The fact is most jobs these days happen through networking. Getting to know people. Making friends. And, keeping an ear out for what’s going on in your work sector. 

Forbes says networking works about 1/3rd of the time. The only thing that works better (at 47%) is “knocking on the door of any employer” which is simply a cold-call version of networking.

Consider these statistics on networking:

  • 80 percent of jobs are not posted online.
  • Only about five applicants earned an interview from hundreds of applications.
  • Referrals account for around a third of all external hires.

Especially in the age of the Internet and near-instant communication, networking is one of the most important factors in getting your next job.