I like to think of job applications like buying strawberries. Strawberries are available to buy all year round, but there are certain seasons where the strawberries are going to be better than others.
Job applications work in a similar way. Even though there will be new positions available all year, the month in which you apply can make a big difference to your success.
In this article, we’re going to discuss how the time of year can affect your job application, the best months to look for a new position, and what time of the day will give you the highest chance of being invited for an interview.
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The best time of the year for job applications
Mid-January and February are your best friends.
In these two months, managers often receive their hiring budget, objectives and targets for the upcoming months. This means that from mid January, companies are going to have a clear idea of what they can spend in terms of their recruitment and will be looking to fill positions as soon as possible.
In addition to this, most companies pay their employees bonus in December. This means that if employees are wanting to resign, they’ll usually wait until after bonus to hand in their notice. This creates a knock on effect into the next year, meaning that there are usually an influx of job openings after the Christmas break.
I also specifically stated mid-January, rather than earlier in the month, because in the first few weeks of January employees and management are usually preoccupied with catching up with the work they’ve missed over the holidays. So, to increase your chances of success, it’s recommended to wait a couple of weeks for recruiters to clear out the missed emails and calls they’ve accumulated over the holidays.
However, there is a downside to job applications in January and February. If you think that you’re getting ahead of the curve and applying for your dream job early on in the year, it’s likely that many other people have also had the same idea.
January and February can be crowded with potential competition. The ratio of job seekers applying for jobs in January is higher than any other month of the year. But don’t fear, you can still land your dream job despite this. The best thing you can do is be prepared. By ensuring you have a sparkling resume and a polished cover letter ready to go in January, you’ll already be one step ahead of the competition.
September, October and November are also your great friends.
As the warm temperature fades and vacation season slowly comes to a close, September marks the end of summer for many of us. But the end of summer can mean the start of many new job opportunities.
From September to November, managers and recruiters are looking to use the remainder of their budget and resources before the end of the year. Vacant positions must be filled and leave enough time for new staff to be adequately trained before Christmas holidays. It’s a good idea to check recruitment sights and current job vacancies regularly during this time as there’s likely to be an increase of positions available.
March, April, May June are your acquaintances.
Even though March through June might not be as fruitful as other months in terms of job vacancies, companies can still have positions to fill on the run up to summer. With employees leaving just before summer break, and many team members having booked holiday, managers are often eager to fill positions quickly in this period to ensure holiday is covered and they have enough staff to cover the workload.
Mid-July and August are the cousins you only see at the occasional family gathering
Mid-July to August can be more difficult when job hunting. Often the recruitment budget is getting low, and if the recruiter has a holiday booked, it’s unlikely they’re going to look at new applications before their break.
However, there are advantages to looking for a job in Mid-July to August. These quieter months give you a chance to prepare for the increase in vacancies from September onwards, meaning you can have your resume and cover letter written to perfection and ready to go when positions become available.
Additionally, despite the summer having a lull in vacancies, it doesn’t mean that recruitment stops completely. Sometimes an unexpected resignation or increased workload can mean companies have positions to fill, and with less competition in the job market, you have a higher chance of success.
December is the distant relative you’ve never met, but still sends you Christmas cards every year.
December is more about rounding up any unfinished work (and looking for last minute Christmas presents) than it is about recruiting.
It’s the end of the year, and with the holidays fast approaching, everyone’s beginning to wind down for the Christmas break.
HR, managers and recruiters are usually preparing new year budgets, objectives and January vacancies.
Since it’s unusual to have a high number of people applying for jobs in December, it’s also common for recruiters not to post job adverts around this time as they’re unlikely to get much response.
With this being said, it’s definitely worth applying for any positions that are available in December. However, if you know you’re going to need income leading up to Christmas, it’s best to plan ahead. It can be useful to put some money aside to prepare for this decrease in jobs, or secure a position a few months prior that will see you into the new year.
The best time of day to apply
Business company TalentWorks studied more than 1,600 job applications in an attempt to see how timing impacted the likelihood of being invited to an interview.
The result? Apply in the morning, the earlier the better!
The investigation found that by applying for a vacancy between 6 am and 10 am, your chances of being invited for an interview increased by 13%.
Shockingly, after 10am, the results showed that applicants’ chances of being called in decreased by 10% every 30 minutes. Despite there being a slight influx around lunch time, where the chances increased to 11%, by 7.30pm the likelihood of being invited to an interview were as low as 3%.
The moral of the story? Apply as early in the day as you can. Not only will you increase your chances of an interview, but you will also have the satisfaction of starting the day on a good note.
When to apply after a job advert has been posted
Leading on from the best time to apply for a job, there are also studies that show how long you should wait to apply to a job once it’s been posted.
The results from the survey concluded that it’s important to apply soon after the position has been posted online. By applying within the first four days of the advert being uploaded, you are eight times more likely to be contacted by recruiters. After this 96 hour window, your chances decrease by 28% everyday.
As with many things, there are definitely seasonal advantages when applying for jobs. It’s clear that there may be more job opportunities in February and October than in August and December, however this can mean more competition for positions during these times.
It’s important to understand the times of the year that have reduced job opportunities, and use this to your advantage. If you know September is likely to have more vacancies, use August and July to prep your CV, revamp your cover letter and perfect your interview techniques.
No matter what month of the year you’re looking, applying for jobs requires patience and persistence. However, knowledge is power, and if you submit your applications before 10am and aim to apply for jobs in the first four days of them being posted online, you’ll greatly increase your chances of an interview.
“The early morning has gold in it’s mouth” – Benjamin Franklin.