With the holidays right around the corner, you’ve probably decided to put your job search on hold until the new year rolls around.
Before you go on this little hiatus, though, you may want to consider this: December might actually be the best time of year to be searching for a job.
Here are four reasons why:
1. There’s Less Competition
Unsurprisingly, with people running around with their hair on fire trying to prepare for the holidays, there is just a lot less competition for the positions that are open—and yes, there are positions open. (I’ll get to that in a minute.)
With fewer people applying for jobs, it’s ultimately easier to stand out from the crowd. Don’t make the mistake of thinking December is the month for slacking off—this could actually be the month your efforts pay off the most.
2. Companies Have Extra Money in Their Budgets
Aside from the job openings that exist simply based on need (it’s not like companies suddenly don’t need employees in December), it’s not uncommon for companies to have a little extra spending money left over in their yearly budgets.
This means new positions to be filled and hiring decisions to be made. This excess won’t be known until toward the end of the year, so naturally this is the time the positions get posted. If you have a target list of companies (and, yes, you should), now would be the time to check in on their job listings.
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3. You Get More Attention From Recruiters
The best part of applying for jobs in December is the attention you get. Recruiters feel the slow down in candidates most keenly and will get even more excited than usual when an interesting person comes along.
This applicant lull means a bit more time spent looking over resumes, longer interviews, and a more responsive hiring process all together—all good things for you, the qualified applicant.
4. It’s Great Time to Network
Finally, the holidays are a great time to be networking. Whether it’s tagging along with a friend to her company’s holiday party or chatting with an uncle you haven’t seen in a long time, there are tons of opportunities for you to meet new people or let your existing network know about your career plans.
And, speaking of your existing network, now is a great time to be reaching out to and checking in with old colleagues and mentors. (Here’s how.) Even if you have nothing in particular to catch up about, sending a quick “thinking of you” note makes it easier for you to reach out again when you do need some career help down the road.
The holidays are a great time to take a break—and many do. But, if you want to stand out in your job search, you may want to consider this road less traveled and keep pushing your job search forward. Now is the time.
Photo of person on laptop courtesy of Eva Katalin Kondoros/Getty Images.
Lily Zhang serves as a Manager of Graduate Student Professional Development at the MIT Media Lab where she works with a range of students from AI experts to interaction designers. When she’s not indulging in a new book or video game, she’s thinking about, talking about, or writing about careers. Follow her musings on Twitter @lzhng.More from this Author