Job seekers, get ready for the hiring season

Hiring seasons might seem like myths, but they exist. Understanding when managers at companies will likely have open job positions can be crucial for everyone looking for careers.

A balloon with the words Now Hiring
Credit: Random Retail CC BY 2.0

Yes, Virginia, you already know there is a Santa Claus, but what you might not know is that there is a "hiring season." Job seekers like yourself need to be aware of when a company is likely to have the positions (and budget) available to hire you.

You might wonder how I would know such a thing, like Santa, exists? Well, it comes from having been in the job board business a few hundred years ago (digitally speaking). You see, the reality is that in that business, although we generated consistent revenue throughout the year, we could make an entire year’s worth of income from just the first three months of the year. Yup, from January through March, we could clean up just because there was so much hiring happening!

I started watching closely for the "hiring seasons." I determined in my own very unscientific manner that they do, in fact, exist.

January through March

Virginia, I tell clients that they must do significant preparation during November and December for January hiring. New budgets are approved in the last quarter of the previous year, which makes January 1 the launch of the hiring season. This is when corporations give hiring managers the approval and authority to fill those slots they so badly wanted and needed to fill back in September!

Fill them they will, and the sooner, the better. A lot will happen in this short time span. Managers don’t want leadership to see them as dallying (implying that maybe they didn’t really need to fill those slots...) and, as every good manager knows, if they don’t spend that money, it won’t be available to them in the following year’s budget.

April through May

A bit of a hiring hangover occurs, now that things are slowing down after the big hiring hurrah that occurred January through March, but those harder-to-fill or not-absolutely-necessary slots that the budget still allows for will be filled during these two months.

May through August

Oh, Virginia! Everything just comes to a stop at the beginning of summer! I feel so bad come the end of May and June when all of those smart, ready-to-conquer-the-world new grads hit the streets and find out that, because they did not begin their job search in earnest back in October or November of the previous year, there is just not that much out there. Entry-level jobs in most graduate’s fields are tough to find if (1) they did not intern the previous summer, (2) they did not begin submitting online applications and formal resumes to those companies they would most want to work for sooner, or (3) they don’t have an uncle in the biz.

On the other hand, a ton of summer jobs become available that will put some dollars in your pocket. But if it’s a career that an active job seeker or a new grad is looking for, it’s a tough time simply because, in my observations, you just can’t get three managers to sign off on a new hire during the summer. One, if not all of those signatures necessary for final approval, are usually "on holiday and won’t be returning for three weeks." And so it goes.

Summer career hiring regardless of the level of position — versus just taking a job — requires forethought, prior action and planning. Just saying.

September through December

August/September through November and, to a lesser extent, into December is all about the holiday/retail season. We all know and recognize that an abundance of temporary holiday jobs is available to anyone who wants one during that October–December blitz. For those who missed previous windows this year a holiday job, if done well (I mean really well), can often times lead to a permanent offer post-Christmas. Let’s face it: the big retailers continuously need talented people, and, any time a hint of a permanent hire comes your way, Virginia, by all means have the discussion. You never know.

On the other hand, and referring back to January through March in this post, you should be actively and professionally aggressive about positioning yourself by submitting applications throughout the aforementioned holiday season for the January–March hiring blitz.

Essential Hires

Now don’t get me wrong, Virginia, hiring happens year round — we all know that. I just wanted to provide you with this overview of annual hiring seasons.

Which leads to the question: how come people get new jobs every day? Well, it’s because they solve a problem. This is what is called Essential Hiring, and it happens each and every time a company determines they have a need for someone to _______. (You fill in the blank.)

You see, Virginia, what you do and what you have to offer is essential... to someone. Your job (pun intended) is to network continuously to inform others of your availability. If they don’t know you do X and are available, then who’s the one missing out?

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