Simon Speak, the Director of AFR Consulting, puts it this way:
“When you apply to every job in sight, you’re not taking the time to tailor your application to each position. This means that your application may not highlight the skills and experiences that are most relevant to the job you’re applying for. As a result, you’re less likely to stand out to recruiters and hiring managers.”
Instead, be strategic with your job application. This is why it’s important to know the best time to look for a job in UK. Besides that, you should also consider other important job hunt strategies.
I walk you through everything you need to know to land your dream job in the UK sooner rather than later. So let’s dive right in!
The Best Time to Look for a Job in UK
The best time to look for a job in UK depends on the month, the day, and the time you send in your resume and cover letter. Let’s look at all three in detail.
The best month to apply for jobs in UK
In the UK, you can find job openings throughout the year. But there is a time of the year when the job market is more active. This is from January to February.
The reason why the beginning of the year is the best time to apply is because many companies match their fiscal year with the calendar year. So when the first month of the year arrives, these companies already have new plans, new goals, and new hiring budgets. In turn, new job slots are opened.
And when there are a lot of job openings, your chances of recruitment are much higher.
💡Side note: to really get on with the flow of the hiring season, I’d say send in your CV from mid-January to the end of February.
Another reason why January and February are the best months to apply for a job in the UK is that recruiters and hiring managers are fresh from their holiday break. They’re ready to get back to work in full force and fill up those vacancies as soon as possible.
But what if you miss the January and February hiring activity fest? Don’t worry. March, April, and May are good months to find a job as there will still be openings that need to be filled.
The same is true for September and October. To prepare for the end of the year, a handful of new jobs will pop up. This is a great opportunity to land a new job before the holidays begin.
Also, September is an ideal time for foreigners and fresh graduates. This is because companies like hiring these job seekers early on to train them (or work on their visas) for the new year job slots.
That leaves us with June, July, August, November, and December. These are the worst months for job seekers in the UK. The Imagine American Foundation says:
“The summer months are usually not a good time to search for a new job. At this point in the year, companies have spent the money they budgeted for hiring and are not looking for new employees.”
Besides that, lots of recruiters and hiring managers are on summer vacation. Your resume and cover letter will be left to gather dust in the corner.
The holiday festivities begin to pick up in November and are full-blown in December. Hardly anyone will be thinking about going through the hiring process by this time.
The best day to apply for a job in UK
The best day to apply for jobs in the UK is Monday. Why? Many companies put up job listings on the first day of the week. Side note: Monday is considered the first day of the week in the UK.
If you want to be one of the first applications that a recruiter or hiring manager goes through, it’s wise to apply as soon as the job posting is up. “Your best bet is to submit your application within 48 hours of the role being listed,” says Marissa Morrison, Vice President at ZipRecruiter.
That said, posting job openings on Monday isn’t a universal rule. Companies put up job openings from Tuesday to Thursday, too. In that case, the best thing to do is check how long ago the listing was up. If it’s within 48 hours, there’s a good chance you’ll be one of the first that applies.
A study by ZipRecruiter showed that only 3% of job openings are posted during the weekend. So you can assume that the worst days to apply for UK jobs are on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Even if there is a new job slot that pops up on the weekend, the recruiter and hiring manager will most likely check the applications on Monday (by this time, your resume is already at the bottom of the pile).
The best time to apply for a new job in UK
If you want to be “seen”, send your CV in the morning, around 6 AM to 10 AM (UK time). Side note: 6-10 AM UK time is 1-5 AM US time.
A single job listing receives around 100 to 400 applications every day. To make sure that a recruiter checks YOUR resume out of the hundreds, it needs to be part of the first ones they see. To do that, time your application submission when recruiters log in to work and check their emails.
If you’re busy in the morning (or you’re not a morning person/night owl), the next best time to apply is from 2 PM to 3 PM (9 AM to 10 AM US time). Back from their lunch breaks, recruiters are ready to go through more emails.
You can also submit your resume and cover letter late at night. I’m talking from 10 PM onwards (5 PM US time). There’s a big chance that, by morning, your application is still “up there”.
This leads us to the worst time for your UK job search. This is from 11 AM to 1 PM (6-8 AM US time) and 4 PM until 10 PM (11 AM to 5 PM US time). Since recruiters are out of the office from these times (lunch break and end of work), your application goes down the drain.
How to Stand Out in Your UK Job Search
Timing your application submission is a good way to stand out among the crowd. But that’s not the only way to grab attention. Here are other factors to consider:
- Connections are the key. Referrals are very powerful. If someone at the workplace refers you, then you can be sure that your name will be high on the candidate’s list. So while you wait for the best month for hiring, you can spend your time building connections. If you’re a foreigner, a strategy is to reach out to people from the UK through LinkedIn.
- Tailor your resume and cover letter. Let me tell you this, “You can never stand out with a vague and generic resume and cover letter.” But if you let the recruiter know you read the job description, know about the company, and have the right skills and experience, you’ll grab their attention.
- Work on your skills. The more skills you have, the more valuable you become. Simple as that.
- Get a UK work visa. If you’re a foreigner looking for jobs in the UK, it can be hard to compete against locals. One way you can prove your dedication is by securing a UK work visa as early as now. Just make sure that you research the right visa to get.
- Choose the right job. Randomly applying to every job you see will only waste your time. You will have a better chance of getting hired if you apply for jobs that match your skill set and experience.
- Prepare for interview questions. Let’s say you were shortlisted for a first interview. HURRAY! However, this is when you really have to impress. This is why you should always prepare your answers to common interview questions. This will help you get rid of the nerves, too.
The best time to look for a job in UK is in January and February, on the first day of the week (Monday), and in the first few hours of the day (6 to 10 AM UK time). If you follow these strategic times, as well as the other factors I listed here, you’re sure to land your dream job much sooner.