We hear it every year. “No sense looking now; everybody knows that no one hires in December.”
Contrary to widespread belief, December can actually be one of the best months to conduct a job search. There are at least five reasons for this.
Less Competition: Since so many people believe December is a bad month to look for a job, they don’t actively search during that month. Hence, there is less competition from other job seekers, and potential employers have more time to consider those who do apply for positions.
More Access: “Everybody” does not go away for the December holidays. On the contrary, many managers are both catching up on unfinished business and are getting ready for the new year. Many human resources directors are working on staffing plans for the coming year, and are more attentive to personnel matters than they usually are. Thus the last month of the year can be the best month of all to get access to key people.
The Giving Season: As people get in the spirit of the year-end holidays, they tend to be more disposed toward helping others. There may not be a huge swing in this direction, but even a little increased openness by hiring managers works in favor of applicants.
January Hires: January is often one of the biggest months of the year for hiring. However, individuals who are hired in January usually are not the people who waited until then to start their job searches. Those hired in January are often people who were actively pursuing leads in December. (We’ve worked with job applicants who had critical interviews on Christmas Eve or during the last week of the year.)
The January Rush: A lot of people make New Year’s resolutions to change jobs. In January, therefore, the market becomes more saturated with job seekers. If you put off your search until after the December holidays, you’re likely to have to compete with a bigger (and possibly more determined) crowd in January. You also risk losing psychological job-search momentum around Thanksgiving, and you may not get into high gear until mid-or-late January. That means, obviously, that a job seeker can actually lose two months, not just one, by suspending activity in December.