If you’ve worked hard at university to secure a top grade then you’ll probably be hoping for a top job as a reward.
But competition is fierce and getting fiercer:
That means you need to give yourself every chance possible.
Applying at the right time of year can be the difference between taking your first steps on the career ladder and missing out on the opportunity of a lifetime. To make sure you secure that dream position, let’s take a look at the best and worst times of year for a graduate to apply for a job.
The Christmas and New Years celebrations are over and everyone is back in the office, making January and February an ideal time to send in your job applications. Companies’ decision makers should be back from their breaks, which means the hiring process will be in full swing.
It’s worth noting that the (as-yet-unofficial) National Sickie Day takes places on the first Monday of February. This annual event is traditionally the day that the highest number of workers take off sick due to “illness”. It’s best not to apply on this day… there might not be anyone there to review your application!
After the rush of January and February, you will probably find the jobs that were going over the New Year period have now been filled. March, therefore, is not a great time to send in your applications.
If you fancy a career in the sun — and who wouldn’t? — then April, May and June could be an excellent time for you to start applying for positions. That’s because industries that are weather-dependent, such as tourism and hospitality, tend to hire during these three months.
In other sectors, you could find the upcoming summer holidays have got hiring managers in a panic. They may want to fill positions before they jet off, so make sure you get your CV in front of them during this period.
July and August is pretty much the worst time of year to apply for a new position. That’s because many workers take these months as annual leave. The hiring process can slow right down so don’t expect anyone to get back to you quickly.
Also, the decision makers (the ones who you want to impress) may not be there to confirm any decisions on new hires. July and August could be a good time to perfect your CV and cover letter for the coming months, which are going to be your peak period for applications.
Now the kids have gone back to school and the summer holidays are over, the hiring process can resume once more.
Just like at the beginning of the year, September and October are great months for securing a graduate position because the decision makers are back in the office and refreshed from their break. Now is the perfect time to send in those applications and get them in front of the people who matter.
You will also find many graduate schemes start in August or September, meaning applications for the next cycle will begin now. Grad schemes aren’t the only way into work for a graduate but they can be an excellent route to take if you want a position in a top company.
The winter months are going to be a great time for graduates to secure a job. For starters, seasonal industries will be clamouring to hire new staff for the extra-busy Christmas period. This is a great time to boost your bank balance by picking up some extra work.
November and December are also perfect application periods because other jobseekers are distracted from the goal by the lure of the holiday period. Don’t fall into this trap and keep the job hunt going through these two months.
Securing your perfect job can often be as much about timing as how well you suit the role. The trick is to get your application in front of the people that matter when the jobs are available.
For that reason, the best time of year to get your application in is during the September to February period.
However, it should also be said that different industries can work on different time scales. Make sure you do plenty of research on when jobs become available in your chosen industry.
Andrew Arkley is the founder of PurpleCV, one of the UK’s leading CV writing services. He has had over 15 years experience in HR and recruitment.