A new beginning is around the corner with the start of a new year, and as is the case every year many people may be busy working out their goals and resolutions for life, health and career.
Even though this may sound like an occasional enthusiasm that often doesn’t materialise into tangible results, the first few months of the year can be a good time to look for a job.
It is not the only good time, though. There are particular periods on the calendar where the probabilities of finding more jobs on the market makes a better time for job hunting. To know these times, you should be aware of the cycle of your own industry as well as the forecast of the market. And the reason to know these periods is to avoid prolonging a period of unemployment unnecessarily in case you’re planning to resign from you job before securing another.
Here are a few points to keep in mind if you’re planning your move in the year to come:
Avoid slow business
The first few months of the year often are the most active in hiring because budgets and hiring goals are set, and decision makers are in town after the holidays. Comparatively, the slowest time can be in the last couple of months of the year when businesses are busy closing the year. Summer also can be tough when a hiring decision may stall until everyone involved is back from vacations.
In addition, consider local and regional religious holidays and festivities such as the holy month of Ramadan, feasts, etc. In short, if you decide to resign and look for a job, it may be smart to glance at the calendar to make sure you won’t begin your search with a waiting period for one reason or another.
Check pending issues
If you’re jumping into the job-hunting process, you need to be sure that there isn’t some reason that is putting employers in your industry on the fence when it comes to hiring new staff. These reasons can be pending regulations that affect employers, the overall economic environment, or even concerns over the fallout from external economic troubles — think Europe’s debt crisis or the US fiscal cliff.
To get a better sense of what’s going on with your industry, read industry magazines, network with professionals and keep an eye on news from top employers that can be an indicator of hiring trends. If unsure of the stability of your industry environment, remain in your job until a new job offer is in hand to avoid a long downtime.
Different industries may hire at different times. For example, many of the financial institutions my hire a few months ahead of the end of the fiscal year to be sure of being fully staffed for the year-end closing.
Understanding the high season for your own industry may help pay particular attention when the jobs are likely to be coming online. Some jobs like retail and shipping are seasonal by their nature. If you’ve missed the hiring season, it perhaps makes more sense to stick with your current job until you come across an occasional opening or until the next season.
Get in the grove
Any time can be the right time if you’re emotionally and professionally prepared to change jobs. This won’t create job openings but it will help you take a full advantage of any available job opportunities.
So while you must keep the preceding points in mind, you should also take into consideration your own personal, professional and financial circumstances. While leaving a job without having another secured often is not the best move, it might be less damaging if all circumstances line up correctly for your job hunt.
Interview first, quit second
If you’ve been out of the job market for a long while, don’t quit your job until you’ve gone to a couple of job interviews. The reason is to, first, understand what types of job openings may be realistic for you.
Second, you need to make sure that you’ve not become, for some reason, less favoured in the job market. If you have been sending resumes and getting no responses whatsoever, this may be a good sign that you shouldn’t leave your job regardless to the time of the year. If you’ve been in interviews that didn’t work out, you rightfully have some reason to believe that in the near future another opportunity can be acceptable.
Best times to look for a job
- Check industry cycles and slow times
- Be aware of potential economic changes
- Get a feel for the job market before quitting
Rania Oteify, a former Gulf News Business Features Editor, is currently a journalist based in Seattle.