The job market can be a confusing and seemingly unpredictable place. Sometimes you’ll happen across so many relevant graduate jobs that you won’t have time to apply for them all, while at other times you might struggle to find a single promising job posting.
Job hunting while the market is scarce can be a stressful and demoralising process, as there are likely to be far more applicants per advertised position, making the process much more competitive. To help you plan the best time to make your next career move, we’ve looked back at the last five years to see when there are the most job postings, and when there are the fewest.
The best time to apply for a new job
Having looked at the data, the best month to apply for a job is November, when as many as 14.34% of the year’s jobs are posted on average. This could reflect the fact that the deadlines of many graduate schemes tend to be late in the year, usually in the last few months. By applying at this time, you should not only be able to find more available roles that interest you, but you’ll also be competing against fewer applicants per position.
Following November, the two months with the next-highest number of job listings are October and December, with 13.10% and 12.70% of job postings respectively. This makes the last three months of the year the best time to apply for a job.
Which month has the fewest jobs available?
The month with the fewest jobs available is August, when only 3.80% of the year’s jobs are posted on average. This is followed by June with 4.31% of job postings, and July with 4.67%. These months can also be particularly scarce for graduate schemes, as many will wait until the end of the academic year, or the beginning of the new year, before receiving applications.
If you’re applying for jobs during these months, be aware that you may come across fewer roles that are relevant to you, and you might find that competition for each position is a bit tougher.
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So, which season is the best for applying to a new role?
The season with the highest average number of jobs advertised is autumn, with 36.12% of the year’s positions, making it the best season for job hunters. This is closely followed by winter, with an average of 31.93% of roles being advertised.
The fewest jobs are advertised in the summer, when on average only 12.78% of positions were listed. Spring fares slightly better with an average of 19.7% of job listings.
This shows that there are more jobs available in the colder months, with things generally quieting down during the hotter months. So, when the weather’s horrible and you don’t want to go outside, it could be the perfect time to apply for a job. Equally, don’t let applications keep you indoors if it’s bright and sunny outdoors, take this as your excuse to get out and catch some sunshine.
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Kim Connor Streich, Marketing Director of Debut has commented on the ideal time to apply for a job:
“Graduates who are actively searching for jobs and applying when they first see the opportunity will have the greater chance of getting noticed, and of course, getting in on the first wave of interviews.
When applying for a new role, there are certain factors which can make your chances of success higher. From experience, many companies spend their human resources budgets well before the summer hits; not only does this mean hiring managers and recruiters stop searching during these warmer months, but resources could be lacking and many will spend summer months preparing reports and trends.
When sending out your application, you should aim to be the first in their inbox when the job goes live. Anyone who works on a computer will know the struggle of email overload. You need to avoid the competition by sending your application early in the day – you want it to be the first thing the hiring manager sees. If you find something in the evening, prepare everything and be sure to send it during business hours so you don’t risk getting buried under a pile of other applications.”
We wanted to find the best time of year to apply for a graduate job. To do this, we looked at Debut Careers’ internal data to see how many jobs were posted in each month for the last five years. We then took an average for each month, and used this to indicate which months tend to have more job listings, and which months tend to have fewer.
We then looked at how these results could be viewed in terms of seasons. We assigned three months to each season with spring running from March to May, summer from June to August, autumn from September to November, and winter running from December to February. We combined those months’ averages to find the seasonal averages.