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What’s the Best Time to Apply for a Job?

A display of four seasons. Which time is the best time to apply for a job?

Job seekers often wonder if they could increase the frequency of responses they get from prospective employers if they apply for jobs at just the right time. There are a lot of ideas out there about when the best time to apply for a job is, but there’s only one true answer – anytime. While there are seasonal hiring cycles from industry to industry and employer to employer, opportunities can present themselves regardless of those cycles, which is why any truly diligent job seeker is constantly on the hunt.

That being said, it is still worth keeping track of when hiring practices tend or tend not to happen because not only does it keep you motivated, but if you happen to catch an employer’s eye during times of shortage, it can affect other factors, such as how quickly you get hired and even how much you’ll get paid.

The following is a breakdown of when the best times to apply for a job are throughout the year:

  • Before summer

    In larger companies especially, someone is hired only after several people of different ranks, and sometimes different departments, have agreed that they’ve found their person – and all of them have to be there for that to happen. With summer comes rotating vacations, which means that for several weeks, at least one of those decision makers is likely to be away. Tip! Apply during the springtime to ensure you’re on an employers’ radar early.

  • After summer and after the holidays

    Once again, because more people are around, the periods right after vacations are done tend to be when hiring ramps up, making the early fall season and the start of the New Year periods that are typically abundant in new job openings. January in general is actually a great time to apply because February is traditionally a popular hiring time. January itself is not because, although everyone’s back from vacation, they’re not quite back in the spirit of working – or hiring. In fact, most people are still haunted by the holiday spirit, mourning champagne-showered soirees and figgy pudding-filled firesides with the family. Tip! Apply and network in January to prepare for February. If you hit it off with an employer during those post-holiday winter blahs, you’ll stand out even more.

Remember that despite these trends, every business is unique and there are situations that force employers to go against the grain. For instance, although mid to late fall is typically not a peak hiring time due to vacations for Thanksgiving and the upcoming holidays, some departments are eager to use up the leftover money in their budgets and will go to great lengths to hire new staff before December 31. Bottom line: while it’s good to know when you’re most likely to be hired, you never know when you will be.

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