January is often seen as one of the best times of year to get a new job: everyone has just come back from holiday, businesses have set their New Year’s resolutions, and hiring managers are looking to prepare their teams for the year.
However, while January might be the New Year, it’s old news – December is the new January when it comes to looking for a new job.
So why should you be applying a month early, and what steps should you take to be ready?
Why You Should Apply in December
- There’s a Lot Less Competition
Most people look for jobs as early as January – indeed, this analysis found that six of the top 10 job search days in the year happen in January, with the other four in February.
However, many companies finish their budgets in October/November and place new ads in December, hoping to actually recruit early in the New Year. But if nobody is applying until January – you’ve got a very clear opportunity to be first.
If everybody thinks to look for new work in Jan/Feb, organising yourself to apply in December means you’ll be competing against far fewer people. This could help you stand out, especially in Australia’s more competitive fields.
- Other Employees May Have Just Quit
Christmas and New Year are a time of fresh starts and New Year’s resolutions. Although most people begin their search after the holidays, a lot actually make the decision prior. So, while the big rush of resignations will hit in January, the first employees’ hand in their notice during December – which is right when you can apply. Again, this puts your CV on top of the pile at a time with less competition.
- Holidays Are a Great Time to Network
Holiday season means event season, and events are a fantastic chance to network.
Take the opportunity to attend parties and events to catch up with old colleagues, friends, and mentors who may work at companies that you’re eager to join. Let them know that you’re interested and available, in case they can introduce you to somebody with the power to recruit you.
Important Note: Remember that these are social events first and foremost. This isn’t a job interview. Be social, be friendly. Don’t try to force your CV on everyone in sight. If you make new contacts or rekindle existing ones, make a note to follow up with them later, after the party (i.e. connect with them on LinkedIn).
How to Prepare Yourself for Applying
Step 1: Update All of Your Documents
January opens the applications floodgates. Applying in December gives you space to breathe. Take the time to update your CV, prepare a well-constructed cover letter tailored to any job to which you apply, and tidy up your LinkedIn profile.
Each of these three components play an important role in a job application, and December is a great time to make sure they are world-class.
Step 2: Get in Sooner Rather Than Later
This point might seem contrary to Step One, but it’s vital you remember that even though you have time to craft great documents, you still need to apply sooner than later. When it comes to applying – whether in December or any other month – the longer you wait, the more applicants you will be competing against for attention.
Additionally, as it’s December, if you wait too long the hiring manager may go on holiday. So, yes you definitely want to take extra time to produce a perfect CV, covering letter, and LinkedIn profile, but don’t delay too long.
Bonus Tip: If you receive an auto-response explaining the person is out of office, it’s not the end of the world – come January, you are still first in line, and being at the head of the queue shows your initiative and eagerness for the position.
Step 3: Research Key Stakeholders
The final trick up your arsenal is to research which key stakeholders in the organisation are relevant to the role for which you applied. If you can highlight the appropriate person (relevant to your role), you can connect with them elsewhere – for example, on LinkedIn.
While you shouldn’t inundate these individuals with messages online, you can ‘warm up’ the lead, as it were, by interacting with them. Like their posts, comment to engage in discussion, and share their articles every so often. This puts your name in their mind, so that when they see it again on your CV, they will recognise who you are.
December is the new January when it comes to hunting online for a job. Don’t wait until a hundred other applicants are going for the roles you want – get in the door a month early to stand at the head of the queue and show your eagerness for the position.
If you need advice on hunting for new jobs or you want help finding the perfect role, submit your CV to our expert team and start your journey.