Traditionally, December is seen as the worst time to look for a new position. With abbreviated hours for the holidays, many hiring managers are out of the office, and thin year-end budgets, even your best efforts may go unnoticed. However, for the same reasons that many job-seekers avoid the end of the year, you may be able to take advantage of December to get noticed and secure a new position in time for the new year.
With the unemployment rate at 3.7% nationally and 2.7% in Central Florida, the advantage lies with job search candidates. That competition can be fierce, but you can use that to your advantage in a time of year where many others put their search on hold. What’s more, a growing jobs market in Q3 has caused many private companies looking to fill professional services positions to increase compensation to attract potential candidates.
This combination of factors can turn a normally stale December into the perfect time to make a career move to start the new year.
Budgets for the Next Year Are Being Set
While many human resources departments have used up their budget by Q4, many others need to use what’s left of their hiring budget or risk losing it in the next year. That coupled with other companies setting their budgets and looking to hire for the new year present December job seekers a prime opportunity.
A good number of companies employing corporate accounting and finance professionals distribute bonuses at the end of the year. Because of this, many openings come up in December as employees resign after receiving their bonus. Take advantage of these new openings and get ahead of the competition by continuing your job search in December.
You’re Facing Less Competition
About competition, as mentioned earlier, the slow hiring season reduces the size of the pool of candidates searching. Especially for professional services openings, this reduced competition gives Q4 search candidates a great opportunity to get noticed.
Especially if hiring managers are looking to use up their hiring budget, they will want to move fast. Being available to interview in the traditionally lethargic Q4 hiring market separates you from the pack and sets your resume above a lot of the usual candidates.
Increased Networking Opportunities
The holiday season that causes hiring slowdowns also offers a distinct advantage. For those in the corporate sector, Q4 means holiday parties and a prime opportunity for networking. Simply polling your network for info about openings or letting others know you are searching can open doors in a stagnant hiring cycle.
Although increased gatherings offer more networking touch points, avoid pushing your network too hard. Although it is more about etiquette than job searching, the holiday season is one for celebration. Overwhelming your network not only hurts the chances you’ll hear about a current opening, but it can also cause problems down the road.
Start the New Year Strong
Just as we all use the beginning of the new year to pursue resolutions and form new habits, many companies have new budgets beginning and in many cases budgeted hires. If a hiring manager has a hire budgeted for January, the best time for them to start interviewing is in December. Don’t miss this golden opportunity to start the new year with a new job because you think no one hires during December because of the Christmas holiday.
While Q4 has a history of stagnant hiring practices, there are opportunities to be had. By using the unique advantages that the end of the year presents, you can set yourself apart from other applicants and get a head start on the new year with a new position.
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