Job seekers who think December is worst time of the year to hunt for work may need to rethink their strategy, as some recruiters say the holidays are the best time to find new hires. Rather than taking a break from the search because you think decision-makers are too distracted with holiday parties and vacation, it’s actually smart to ramp up your efforts.
“Most people looking for a new job tend to think the holidays is a good time to take a break,” Doug Matthews, president and CEO of Career Partners International, said in a press release. “This is never a good idea. In my 30 years working with candidates in outplacement, December is one of the strongest months to receive job offers.”
In fact — despite some advice that says February and January are the best months to find a job — if you wait until the new year, you may miss a great opportunity. Why? Competition increases after the first of the month, Vicki Salemi, career expert at Monster, said. “Recruiters also have more time to focus on your application during the holidays because it’s a little slower and they receive [fewer] resumes.”
Want even more specific advice? Submitting your application on a Monday or Tuesday seems to be a sweet spot to get a reply, some data suggests.
Why job hunters have an advantage during the holidays
Candidates may also have more flexibility to schedule interviews and scour job sites for the right position too, especially if you are still working. “Take advantage of down time at work,” Salemi said. “The holidays may be ideal for getting out to an interview if work is a little slow, plus recruiters may have more availability to book time too if they are looking at fewer applicants.”
CareerBuilder found end-of-the-year hiring is on the rise, along with an increase in placement and salaries. “In a recent CareerBuilder survey, we found that 43% of employers plan to hire full-time, permanent employees in fourth quarter, up from 34% last year, with 73% planning to increase salaries,” Ladan Hayes, CareerBuilder’s career adviser, said in an email.
Why else is holiday hiring so hot? As with any sales- or goal-based position, recruiters have budget and new employee numbers to hit before the beginning of the next year. This means the incoming pool of applicants during the holidays are vital to the hiring manager reaching their goals.
Still hesitant to apply for a job that looks good? Here’s one reason why you shouldn’t delay. “In some cases, job postings will simply close out by the end of the year and no longer be available if the interest is not there,” Salemi said. “So job seekers could be missing an opportunity by not applying or waiting until January.”
With this in mind, here’s how job hunters can maximize their time over the holidays to land that ideal position.
Work those holiday parties
People are in a festive mood and may be more receptive to making connections during holiday gatherings. Attend professional or community organization holiday parties to work and expand your network. This could include your local chamber or charity events.
“Holiday parties can be a great place to network and reach out to connections to see if they know of job openings in your industry,” Hayes said. “Bring your business cards, and be sure to follow up with people you talk to.”
To make the best impression on potential employers, dress professionally, don’t let shop-talk dominate the conversation, stick to light banter and avoid overindulging on alcohol, according to Entrepreneur.