Many Grownups think it’s not worth looking for a new job in Q4—but that’s a big myth! HR expert Tess Taylor shows why October to December can be a great time to look for work.
Crisp autumn breezes often harken back fond memories of heading off to college, pumpkin spice lattes, and pulling on a favorite sweater. Yet this season can kick-start panic mode, as many Grownups worry about finding a job that can take them through the chilly season with money in the bank. The holidays are coming up fast, and many fret over not having solid job leads lined up to fund their seasonal spending increase.
Just like ghost stories whispered around Halloween bonfires, there are myths around the end-of-year job market that can be frightfully real to the uninitiated job seeker. Passed down by well-meaning folks, these stories do nothing to quell the fears of unemployed (or underemployed) listeners.
Let’s debunk them, shall we?
Job Search Myth #1: Companies typically slow down their hiring at the end of the year.
Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. Each year, companies project the number of positions that need to be filled per department, and after getting approval to fill these spots, these jobs may still be unfilled in Q4. Typically, hiring cycles revolve around what’s happening in the business: In Q1, many employees depart after getting their year-end bonuses. During Q2 and Q3, hiring and recruitment efforts increase; by autumn, the pace of hiring actually picks up.
Job Search Myth #2: Only part–time seasonal jobs are available now.
There’s no data that supports this myth. Businesses do have an increased number of part-time and seasonal jobs to manage the busy holidays ahead, but many companies have a large number of full-time jobs, too. Consider the need for managers, administrators, manufacturing workers, and sales professionals across multiple industries—and who generally put in full-time hours. For full-time opportunities in your area, reach out to local staffing agencies.
Job Search Myth #3: Companies wait until January to start hiring again.
Don’t delay your job search until January—the hiring gap does not exist. Companies must fill their openings by the end of the year, or possibly lose them forever. A common method of workforce management involves analyzing the number of new jobs created and projecting hiring needs for the next year. Why is this important? Personnel is the first place where HR budget cuts are made: Companies save money when they simply eliminate unfilled jobs, rather than lay off current employees. Oftentimes, department heads will ask for a few extra positions to be created, anticipating difficulties replacing departing employees or that business may pick up in a particular area. After going through the challenges of getting approved, they don’t want to let the empty positions go unfilled. This means they may be willing to overlook a few requirements to get a good candidate in the door. This can work in any job seeker’s favor.
Prep for Your Q4 Job Search
Get prepared, Grownups! Here’s how stand out among the Q4 job-hunting crowd.
Craft a Tip-Top Resume
Look sharp: Your resume should be in a modern template, one that quickly demonstrates your value to employers. Keep the focus on the top half of the resume, which is where recruiters spend their time reading. Why is this so critical? In fall, recruiters are inundated with applications from new grads and those returning to the workforce once kids go back to school. Consider working with a qualified resume writer for support. There are many resume templates available online, but remember, HR departments frequently see those, so they won’t have the quality or originality you’ll need to stand out as a potential hire.
Hit Networking Events
Many communities host job fairs and other career-related events in autumn. Read local publications for announcements, check in with your college career office, and call local temp agencies for updates. Consider attending trade shows and other business events, which feature many companies within specific industries. Finding things a little dull around town? Take a networking road trip and attend trade shows in a nearby city.
Position Your Strengths
Autumn comes with certain challenges because the most coveted jobs require knowledgeable candidates with strong skill sets. Jobs like this don’t come often, so it’s critical to position yourself as the best of the best. Take a hard inventory of all skills, education, career experience, and achievements to come up with a strategy for making a strong position. Develop a 30-second elevator pitch to use when meeting potential employers.
Get Job Search Support
There’s never a reason to struggle with a job search alone. Consider joining support groups on LinkedIn and other social networks, but stick with those that have a strong recruiter presence to get noticed faster. Check with nearby workforce development offices, and take free job search classes while you’re at it. Use every available resource in your circle of friends and family—ask for leads on new companies and jobs.
The end of the year may be a good time to find work, but competition is fierce, so get proactive. Instead of waiting to hear back after an interview or sending in your resume, be bold and pick up the phone for a polite conversation with the recruitment team. Remember, decision-makers may be consumed with end-of-year matters, so some gentle prodding may help. Emphasize being immediately available for work, which can differentiate you during this crunch time.
Take Care of Personal Well-Being
While not directly related to the job-search process, fall is also cold and flu season. Get plenty of rest, eat healthy, and exercise regularly. These activities can help keep away seasonal depression and illness.
Leave any fears at the door and head into your search knowing you have what it takes to land a great job.
Tess C. Taylor, founder and CEO of HR Knows, is a seasoned human resource professional and career coach. She is also the managing editor for HR Dive – Recruitment and Learning channels, as well as the About.com Employee Benefits expert. Follow Tess on Twitter @HRKnows1 and be sure to join her LinkedIn Group HR Knows: Human Resources Articles and News.
Any third-party resources or websites referenced above are not under Society of Grownups control. Society of Grownups cannot guarantee and are not responsible for the accuracy of the resources, websites, or any products or services available through such resources or websites.
While Society of Grownups hopes the information is useful, it’s only intended to provide general education. It’s not legal, tax, or investment advice, and may not apply or be useful to your specific financial situation. If you need recommendations geared to your personal financial situation, schedule time with a financial planner.