It’s January, and if you’re a job seeker, you know what that means: Time to kick things into high gear! A new year equals a new you, so it’s a good time to get into a positive psychological mindset and make a start on your job search. Doing this at the beginning of the year will allow you to begin your job search in January with fresh eyes. In this post, first, we will understand why January is the best time to start looking for jobs. Secondly, we will discuss how to make a job search strategy in January.
Job Hunting in January
Why January is the Best Time to Start Looking for Jobs
Co-authored by Anuradha Dutta
Job Search in USA and India
Omicron may be closing down businesses, schools, sporting events, and concerts, but the job market is still strong. As of December, the United States government data shows that over 11 million jobs are available. There is a Great Resignation trend in which millions of Americans are quitting their jobs in record numbers. The stage is set for a good time to hunt for a new job.
In 2013, the 7th January was declared ‘National Job Hunt Day’ as a staggering 11.8 million people began looking for a new role. January is one of, if not the, busiest times of the year for job applications. Nine out of 10 of Monster.com’s busiest days for job applications last year were during the first month of the year, with the most significant spike landing on January 27, a day when the number of job applications grew to 75% above the daily average.
Even in India, January – March is the best time of year to look for a job. Hiring managers have received new hiring budgets for the year, the majority of workers are back from holiday vacation, and companies also often have a backlog of hiring that they have been meaning to do but had paused during the holiday season.
New Year and Fresh Budget
This is the time when the annual budget is determined and the requirements for the next year are drawn. If vacancies are created or new resources are required, the concerned department would start their hunt for candidates after the holiday season is over.
After somewhat sluggish November and December, the recruiters are now geared up to attract the top talents. January has always been the favorite month of recruiters and job seekers to make fresh beginnings.
A 2018 study by a popular recruitment website had revealed that the last week of January is the hunting season for corporate recruiters, and if we are to go by its data there has been a steady year-on-year increase in traffic during this time. In fact, the traffic flow is the highest during this period, reflecting a rise in active interaction between recruiters and job-seekers. According to the report, this year too, the activity is likely to intensify by at least 7%.
Why is January such a good time to start looking for a new job?
If you have any intention of finding a new position, the time is now to start your efforts. It is not untrue that various job cycles pass throughout the year, however, January is the time when most companies build up future plans, set up targets and receive fresh budgets. Back from the holidays, the management is ready to recruit new people and you can be among the first ones they consider for employment in 2019.
Experts believe that the last two weeks are far more suitable for applying for jobs than the first two weeks. It is commonplace that many people like to stretch their vacations into the first two weeks of January and take time to catch up with their work. In the global business scenario, this is true for almost all countries.
It is a usual trend that best talents wait until the year-end to switch jobs.
This is probably because most companies pay their annual bonuses at the end of the year and this time is usually around the festive season. It is only then, most employees start looking for new jobs. However, as the market slows down during the November-December period, the activities tend to speed up in January.
How to Start Looking for Jobs in January
Check job postings
There are enormous opportunities in this time of the year, but there are thousands in the race. Keep a close eye on the job postings so that relevant job opportunities do not escape your attention. Once such an opportunity pops up, don’t waste time. Apply immediately.
Job alerts are helpful in this respect. Sign up for one if you haven’t yet.
Due to the year-end attrition, the possibility to land a desirable job is far greater. Looking at the job postings gives a fair idea about the companies who have intentions to hire. Even if you are not considering a change at the moment but examining the job postings help you get some idea about the potential companies that have the positions or budget to hire.
Identifying the right job and company
But even before you do this, decide carefully the kind of job you want to do. Ask yourself several times; search for the answer with a cool head. Remember, half-hearted efforts will not take you too far. Complete dedication can only help you succeed over the hundreds of others, who also deeply aspire for the role you have set your eyes on.
Identifying a role that you want to work is easier when you have already been in a junior position or a similar one. For some people, a new job can be an elevation and for others, it can simply mean a change of environment and better compensation. While job hunting, it is also important to ensure that you choose the companies that match your personality and offer a work culture that suits you, apart from matching the interest or skills. Many experienced executives find it far more interesting to work with small start-ups instead of multinationals where global opportunities may be available. Some people feel more comfortable working in formal workplace culture, while a casual one may align with the personality of the others.
This way, you will know exactly where to apply after you narrow down the list of companies.
Build your network
Are you ready to take on your competitors? A well-thought networking strategy can give you an advantage over your competitors. To begin with, make sure your LinkedIn profile is updated both in terms of content and style and format. While the importance of a CV cannot be downplayed; yet, your LinkedIn profile is the first point of introduction with your recruiters, and most of them will base their first assessment on it before considering calling you for an interview.
Not always you would have to apply for a job. Recruiters are also continuously hunting for suitable candidates. An updated LinkedIn profile can help you attract recruiters, who may be interested in someone like you. Being active on LinkedIn can help you gain visibility. Add people from your industry to your connections and also don’t forget to network with HR executives operating in your sector.
Not much is needed to sway a serious recruiter in your favor. A professional picture, a strong headline, and your work experience are all you need to get the right attention.
Keep updating regularly. You never know when an opportunity may come your way.
Assess your skills
Analyze the year gone by. Have you added a new skill? What have been your achievements in the last year? Add all these to your CV.
If you find any gaps, add or update the skills as may be necessary.
Prepare in advance
It is true that we learn on the job. But, still, there is a need to prepare for the interview. Preparing in advance will widen your possibility of cracking the interview. Putting it for the last moment may not leave you enough time to prepare for the wide range of questions that you may need to answer.
Interviewers may pose a variety of questions to check your confidence level and presence of mind. They will also test your competency for the job.
Your answers must impress the interviewers. Be short and crisp where needed and elaborate when the question demands or if you are asked to do so. For example, a quick summary of your background, skills and experience should be fine. However, an answer to a question to check your knowledge or experience may be lengthened to the satisfaction of the interviewer.
Make your CV
If you are a fresher, this being your first adventure in the job market, it’s important that you have a well-written CV in place. Remember that your CV should highlight qualifications, training, and workshops (if you have attended any) that are relevant to the job you want to apply for or at least match the requirements posted by the recruiter in the job advertisement. Think about all the achievements that may interest a recruiter and may help you to get shortlisted.
Make it screen friendly
It is vital to have a profile on one or more job portals. For example, Naukri.com has over 2.5 million resumes and more than 1,500 corporate clients; LinkedIn has 590 million registered users across 200 countries, of which 250 million are active users. These figures reflect the massive opportunities that one can get access to by opening an account at a job portal.
In order to make the most of it, make sure your online profile is written clearly and is easy to read on all screen size, whether a laptop, a tab or a mobile phone. A printed resume is required at a later stage. The format written for print doesn’t do well when reading online.
The thick and dense text is best avoided. Keep the paragraphs limited to maximum three lines and do not use paragraph indents with outlines. Ariel and Calibri are the right fonts to be used for the screen.
Quantify your achievements
Let numbers say you have arrived. You are more likely to get shortlisted if you use figures to indicate your achievements as this enables recruiters to quickly glance through your CV and decide your suitability.
For example, if you have saved operation time, reduced costs increased production, you can mention those in figures. The point is to highlight your achievements in every job and to do that you should not use more than five points. Use language which pertains to your industry and job responsibilities.
Focus on underlining the highlights of your performance in each company in a few words. Nevertheless, this must be done to your advantage. Begin your first bullet with something you are most proud of and then follow this with other achievements of lesser impact.
Drop your worries and plan your search keeping in mind that landing the right job is unpredictable. While it may take days for some, for others it may take months. The length of time to find the right job is of little importance. However, timing your search is. Set goals to apply for a certain number of jobs and network per week. With plenty of vacancies, you have chosen the best time to job search.
Anuradha is business, health and education journalist. She is an avid reader and loves to travel. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.