There is a season for most things in life, and this includes the job market. Knowing the right times to apply for jobs can help you avoid peak times, beat the competition and bag the best jobs on the market. 80% of organisations say one of their biggest challenges is filling openings due to the ongoing skills gap in the UK, so there are plenty of opportunities out there, you just need to get the timing right!
We’ll give you the low down on some of the best and worst times of the year to start applying for jobs, looking at:
- Winter: the start of the new year
- Spring: the beginning of the financial year
- Summer: graduate programmes kick-off
- Early autumn: the final uptake wave
- Late autumn: hiring slows down
- Best time of day to apply for jobs
- Best time of the week to apply for jobs
|Winter ⛄||Jan and Feb are great times of year to apply for jobs, as some companies have fresh budgets and employees are recharged after the holidays.|
|Spring🌻||Springtime can also be a good time to start a job hunt, as this is the start of the financial year and most companies will have new budgets to work with.|
|Summer🌞||Summer is the ideal time for graduates to apply for jobs, as most grad programmes will start in September.|
|Autumn🍂||The end of autumn is not the ideal time to apply for jobs, as company budgets will be running low.|
Winter: the start of the new year
Often, a company will receive fresh hiring budgets at the beginning of the calendar year. Subsequently, this is an excellent time to start applying for jobs, as businesses will have higher recruitment budgets and some may be catching up on the backlog of hires that they couldn’t employ due to previous budget restraints. This makes January and February great months for your job hunt.
At the start of the year, employees and decision-makers will also be back from their holidays, and be ready to get stuck back into completing all the tasks they’ve been putting off. This means the interview process is likely to be much swifter and make the hiring process much more enjoyable for you - you may even get a start date much sooner than you’d expect!
Spring: the beginning of the financial year
As companies will have plenty of budgets to work with, the start of the financial year can be a great time to start your job search. In fact, month on month statistics show an increase in job numbers between April and May in 2022, representing a 16% boost for permanent positions and 19% for contract roles.
At this time of year, with many existing employees due to go on annual leave during the summer, companies also feel a greater deal of pressure to hire new talent. However, it’s important to note that competition may be high at this time as everyone will have the same idea as you. So, you’ll need to make sure you bring your A-game. We recommend you work hard on your CV, curate a compelling cover letter and practice for your interviews!
Summer: graduate programmes kick-off
On the other hand, summer is not the best time to apply for a job as most businesses will have already allocated most of their budgets for the year and have a robust team in place. Likewise, many people choose to take their annual leave during the school summer holidays, meaning there are fewer people available to manage the recruitment process and train new hires. So, it’s likely you’ll have a hard time finding a job at this time of the year. And, if there are job openings, they are typically for entry-level positions.
For example, the summer months are a fantastic time for graduates to get stuck into their job search. Most employers will be looking to hire graduates fresh out of university from August onwards, so it’s crucial that you get yourself down to job fairs, get online and start applying!
On average, it takes 27 days to fill a position and in peak times, this can take even longer as there are more applications to sieve through. As most companies will be understaffed at these times, it’s important to be patient with employers and understand that you may not get a response right away. If you choose not to apply in the summer, instead, you can use it as an opportunity to research the job market, brush up on your application and interview skills, or even get some more training under your belt.
Early autumn: the final uptake wave
Hiring happens in waves, and waves have an ebb and flow. Early autumn, around September and October, is the final flow for the year. Employees are refreshed from their summer holidays, and have more time for reviewing applications and taking interviews, ready for one last hiring spree.
And, for businesses whose budgets refresh in the new year, early autumn is a race to spend all resources - the perfect time to hire!
Late autumn: hiring slows down
Unfortunately, in late autumn the wave begins to ebb again, and hiring slows down between November and December. This is mainly due to employees taking time off for the holidays and depleted hiring budgets. We recommend taking this time to wind down, prepare for a fresh start in the new year and take on your job search with a bang!
Best time of day to apply for jobs
Studies of over 1,600 job applications reveal that you are much less likely to receive an interview, if you apply past 7:30pm - just a 3% chance! And, any applications sent past 4pm had even less chances of a call-back, too.
The study showed that the best times to apply for jobs are between 6am and 10am.
Best time of the week to apply for jobs
According to a 2015 study, these are the best times of the week to apply for jobs:
|Monday||58% of job listings are posted Monday – Wednesday.|
|Tuesday||Tuesday is when most hiring decisions are made and when most job listings are posted, making Tuesday the best day to apply for jobs.|
|Wednesday & Thursday||Wednesday and Thursday are also popular days for posting job listings, and an opportune time to apply.|
|Friday||On Fridays, companies will be winding down for the weekend and left with a backlog of applications, thus making it a less opportune time to apply.|
|Saturday & Sunday||Applications sent on a weekend are not likely to be viewed until the following week. Saturday and Sunday also have the least number of job listings posted.|
Job application best practices
- Use downtime to boost your credentials and improve your job application.
- Apply to jobs as soon as you see them - jobs will be snatched up before you know it (especially the good ones).
- Regularly check for job listings, even in off-peak times - you may find a hidden gem.
- Be proactive with your job search, especially during competitive times.
All that being said, it’s important to not overthink it and remember that many companies hire all year-round! If you look hard enough and stay persistent, you’ll be sure to land yourself a fantastic job in the industry of your choice.
Better yet, you could try signing up to a recruitment agency to make the most of year-round job applications, as and when they are released. At FDM, we are hiring all year-round, offering graduates, returners and ex-forces the opportunity to secure a job at some of the most prestigious companies in the world and benefit from expert training programmes.