Does the time of year affect your job search? Peaks and troughs in the number of opportunities available, the availability of decision-makers, and the speed at which your application will be reviewed, all affect the likelihood of candidates getting hired and employers finding the talent they’re looking for.

To make sure you get the most bang for your buck, we’re going to walk you through the employment trends that could affect you and your hunt for your dream job.

1st Quarter – Annual hiring peak

Out with the old and in with the new. Naturally, the beginning of the year is a great time to start thinking about new opportunities; according to Jobsite, over four in ten Brits look for a new job in January. The first quarter of the year kick-starts with a new wave of hiring once recruitment and HR teams receive their annual hiring budgets and everyone has settled back into work after the festive season. Typically, January tends to see more decision-makers in the office meaning applications can be processed more swiftly.

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The downside here could be the level of competition you’d be up against, however, much research has suggested that the number of candidate applications is not nearly as high as the number of online candidate job searches. This suggests an element of New Year window shopping rather than active career hunting. So with plenty of jobs up for grabs, mid-January through to February is a brilliant time of year to look for a fresh start.

Tip: You have a better chance of getting noticed when the job first opens, so have your CV and cover letter up to scratch and raring to go, so you can hit the ground running in early January when new roles get released!

2nd Quarter – Grads up for grabs

As final year students near the end of their degree, the search for grad roles reaches an ultimate high and hiring managers will have the largest pool of young talent to choose from. Our advice would be to start applying as soon as possible, you’ll only be seen as keen and proactive! If you are an experienced candidate, although recruitment will continue, be aware that the process may be slower due to a focus on graduate recruitment.

Moving into spring, the number of construction projects increases, resulting in greater opportunities for engineering, retail and design contract roles.

3rd Quarter – A Grey Area?

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Summertime does have a reputation for having fewer job opportunities as many decision makers take their annual leave in this quarter. According to the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals (CIPP) in 2012, September was reported to be the most popular month for personnel to take annual leave, followed by August, June and July.

During the summer where recruitment has been known to move at a snail’s pace, application progression can be very sporadic. To overcome this, perhaps spend your summer researching companies and their environment, connecting with current employees or reaching out to hiring managers. These steps will give you a head start when companies start hiring after summer and make them feel like they know you before you’ve even applied!

Tip: Make the most of LinkedIn. Many recruiters will actively search this network for potential candidates and there will be a range of jobs available on LinkedIn that aren’t listed on other job boards.

Final Quarter – Increase your Chances

With Google searches for ‘grad jobs’ peaking in October, the final quarter is another key time for grad recruitment, as candidates turn their job searches into job applications!

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Generally, December is a quiet time for both candidate applications and hiring teams because let’s face it, we’re all too busy gearing up for the festivities! Many people opt to postpone job hunting until after the festive season. Saying that…there is an opportunity here:

  1. By applying during this period, you will face a far less saturated market.
  2. Online giants such as ASOS, Amazon and Argos all require further support to ensure their sites can cope with the increased demand that runs throughout the final quarter. Therefore, if you’re a web developer looking for some temporary work to take you through the Christmas period, there should be increased demand for you in the final quarter. However, if you’re in search of a permanent role, we recommend that you enjoy the festive season and see what opportunities prevail in the New Year.

The Highlights:

  • January and February will always be busy as this is when businesses receive their annual hiring budgets.
  • You will have a better chance of getting noticed if you apply for a job when it first opens.
  • If you’re a graduate, secure yourself a role before May and take advantage of the availability of jobs in the first months of the 1st and 2nd quarter.
  • You will move through the application process more swiftly when more decision makers are in the office; quarter 1, the start of quarter 2 and the end of quarter 3.
  • Grad job availability peaks in the 2nd quarter and there is a second peak in grad applications in September/October.
  • Summer can be a tricky time purely due to holidays and the availability of decision-makers.
  • If you’re looking to apply over Christmas, we recommend waiting to apply until the New Year when more opportunities become available. However, if you are keen to work through the festive season, it could be a good time to explore contract roles within the retail industry, as demand increases over the Christmas period.

If you are looking for a fresh start and would like to have an informal chat with one of our experienced recruitment consultants, do not hesitate to give us a call.

This post originally appeared on the ISL Recruitment blog. Read more of our posts here.

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