Conventional wisdom tells us to never quit a job until we have another one. Now there is data to prove this statement. A study of job seekers divided subjects into two groups: those that were employed when they received an offer and those that were not. Although unemployed job seekers received more job offers, they did significantly worse in most other respects. For example, unemployed job seekers received wage offers that were 23% lower than similarly qualified employed job seekers. The main reason for this difference was that employed job seekers are more selective in their offers. Another contributing factor is that employers prefer employed candidates because they believe a job proves an applicant is valuable, there is no way to know how a person lost their previous job, employed people transition to new work more quickly, employed workers have fresher job skills, and unemployed people may lack work ethic.
We now know that the best time to look for a job is when we already have one. So, when is the best time of the year to start looking for a new job?
JANUARY AND FEBRUARY ARE THE BEST MONTHS
The New Year brings New Year’s resolutions and desires to change jobs. Data shows that the days with the highest number of job searches tend to fall in January. For example, employees that receive yearly bonuses in December may choose to leave their jobs after receiving their bonus. On the employer side, job postings jump from December to January and February, as companies receive updated budgets and sales forecasts, and executives know whether they can afford to hire new workers. One drawback to searching for a job in these months is that companies have plenty of money, time, and resources to choose the right candidate, so the hiring process may take longer to be finalized.
SPRING IS ALSO A GOOD TIME
March, April, and May are still good times to apply for jobs. There is still some momentum from New Year hiring, and there is pressure to complete hiring before summer arrives. In contrast to January and February, employers are more likely to rush the hiring process and try to get you to commit.
DON’T WAIT UNTIL SUMMER
Companies tend not to spend their human resources budget in the summer, so you should expect few opportunities outside of entry-level and minimum wage jobs. Use the summer time to evaluate the companies he would like to work for and apply with in the autumn.
EARLY AUTUMN BRINGS ANOTHER HIRING SEASON
In September and October, employers are back from vacation and looking to fill positions before the end of the year. If a position is not filled before the end of the year, executives may determine it to be redundant and remove it from the budget, so hiring managers are incentivized to fill it.
DON’T WAIT TILL THE END OF THE YEAR
November and December provide few employment opportunities other than seasonal work. Human resources departments have a dwindling budget and will often push their hiring into the next year when they receive their new budget. In addition, late November and December are popular times for vacations, which limit the number of possible interviews.
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Also published on Medium.