Are you looking for a new job but unsure about “what time of year companies hire in the USA”? With fluctuating business needs and budgets, companies hire year-round in the US, but research shows hiring tends to peak at certain times.
Whether you’re fresh out of university or eyeing that next big role, this article aims to shed light on the best times to make your move.
- January, February, September and October are peak hiring months in the USA due to new budgets and post-summer surges.
- While hiring slows around the holidays, it doesn’t completely stop – maintain networking and application momentum. Summer months tend to be slower for hiring so focus on preparation.
- Plan your search 6-12 months in advance and continuously develop your skills and update your resume.
When Do Companies in the USA Hire?
When it comes to finding a job, timing is everything. Certain months tend to be more favorable for job seekers due to various factors. So what time of the year do companies hire in USA?
In the USA, January and February are known to be peak hiring months for job searching and hiring. This is because many companies have new budgets and are looking to fill their open positions for the year. Additionally, November and December can also be advantageous as some companies are eager to hire before the end of the fiscal year, and there may be fewer job seekers in competition.
September and October are also popular hiring months as companies kickstart their hiring process after the summer vacation season. September, in particular, is traditionally seen as a time of change for many, often referred to as the “September Surge“. This surge is influenced by societal shifts such as the return to school and the end of summer, as well as budget considerations for businesses. By taking advantage of these hiring peaks, job seekers can increase their chances of landing a job.
Companies also tend to align their hiring processes with the fiscal year. They may have specific hiring goals and targets to meet, and these can influence their hiring schedules. Understanding the fiscal year of the company you are interested in can give you insights into when they are most likely to be actively hiring.
Moreover, each industry may have its own set of preferred hiring months. Retailers, customer service companies, fulfillment centers, and delivery services see an uptick in hiring to meet increased demand around holidays like Christmas and New Year’s.
It is vital for job seekers to research and be aware of these preferred hiring months to increase their chances of success.
The Impact of Holiday Seasons
The holiday season from November through December brings unique considerations if you’re job searching. With festive distractions and vacations, some hiring processes slow down. However, it’s not always an ideal time to halt your search. Here are key factors to weigh when job hunting around the holidays.
Maintaining Momentum in November and December
Though many companies experience holiday slowdowns, hiring doesn’t completely freeze up. Organizations looking to tap budgets, meet annual goals, or fill urgent needs continue recruiting and interviewing. Avoid assuming no one is hiring; quality candidates are still sought out.
“Employers know that people are going to surprise them in January and leave so not only do I have to hire for the people that I know I need, I have to start getting a pipeline together for people that I know are going to leave,” mentions Andrew LaCivita, a globally-renowned career and leadership coach, founder of milewalk Academy
The advantage of applying for a job during this season is less competition. Many people are busy with holiday plans and aren’t focused on job hunting. This means you might have a better chance of standing out.
Instead of fully pausing your search, maintain momentum by networking, polishing your resume, and checking online job boards. Recruiters and hiring managers may be moving at a slower pace, but they’re still active. Follow up on existing applications and continue applying to newly posted roles.
Planning Around Holiday Schedules
While hiring continues, accounting for holiday closures and staff vacations is crucial. Companies often take 1-2 weeks off around Christmas and New Years, pausing interviews and offers during this time.
Schedule your search calendar accordingly – you may need to work around delayed responses or push timings back. With planning, you can accommodate holiday hiatuses while keeping up application momentum.
Worst Times to Look for a Job
While certain months see upticks in hiring, other times of year tend to experience slower job market activity you’ll want to avoid. Specifically, the summer months from May through August tend to see hiring slumps across many industries. Here’s why:
- Vacation Mode: A lot of people, including hiring managers, take vacations during these months. This means things can move a lot slower than usual.
- Fewer Job Listings: Companies might not post as many job openings during the summer. They’re often waiting for the fall to ramp things up.
- Graduation Season: May and June see a fresh batch of graduates eager to dive into the job market. This could mean more competition for entry-level positions.
Rather than trying to force a job search during these slower months, focus your efforts elsewhere. Use the summer to build your skills, network, polish up your resume, and research roles and companies you’re interested in. Come September, you can hit the ground running with full preparation when hiring picks up again.
While certain times see predictable hiring spikes and lulls, some industries maintain steady recruiting and talent acquisition all year long.
Here are industries that often hire year-round:
- Healthcare: Whether it’s doctors, nurses, or technicians, the healthcare industry is always in need. People always require medical attention, making this sector one with consistent job openings.
- Tech and IT: With technology ever-evolving, there’s always a demand for software developers, IT specialists, and tech support.
- Retail: While there might be spikes during holiday seasons, stores and online shops usually need staff throughout the year, especially in bigger cities.
- Food Services: Restaurants, cafes, and fast-food joints often have openings. Whether you’re looking for a role in the kitchen or out front, there’s usually a demand for workers.
- Customer Service: Be it call centers or online support, businesses need folks who can assist their customers all year round.
So, even if you miss those “peak” hiring times, don’t fret! Plenty of industries have opportunities just waiting for the right candidate like you.
Planning Ahead: How Far in Advance to Look for a Job
Once you know when hiring peaks occur, an important question arises—how far in advance should you begin your search? While there’s no single rule, planning 6-12 months ahead helps ensure you capitalize on seasonal opportunities.
Think in Year-Long Cycles
Rather than limiting your search to current openings, take a long-term view. Identify target companies and roles for the next 9-12 months. Follow them to understand their hiring cycles and prepare accordingly. Timing often comes down to when desired jobs get posted, not just universal trends.
Ramp Up Around Peak Months
As promising openings arise, ramp up your search 2-3 months before ideal hiring months. For a January surge, begin networking and applying in October/November. For September, activate your search in June/July. Build momentum so you’re in the pipeline as roles go live.
Stay Ready Year-Round
Even between peak seasons, continue adding skills, networking, and researching to be ready to act quickly. Follow companies still hiring in the interim to get a foot in the door.
Preparation Tips for Job Seekers
While timing is crucial, success also depends on laying the groundwork through ongoing preparation. Here are pro tips to help prep for peak opportunities.
- Keep Your Resume Fresh: Your resume is like your professional handshake. It’s often the first thing employers see, so make sure it’s updated. Highlight recent experiences, projects, and any accolades. Tailor it for each application to resonate with what the company is looking for. “Having a generic resume in today’s labor market simply won’t cut it,” says career coach Bryan Creely
- Never Stop Learning: The world is constantly evolving, and so should your skillset. Attend workshops, enroll in online courses, or grab some books related to your industry. Continuous learning not only beefs up your resume but also keeps you sharp and in the know.
- Show Your Growth: It’s not just about listing jobs and skills. Showcase your progress. Did you lead a successful project? Boost sales by a certain percentage? Tangible achievements can be a powerful testament to your capabilities.
- Stay Adaptable: The job search can be unpredictable. You might not always get the first job you apply for, or you might stumble upon an opportunity in a slightly different field. Being flexible and open-minded can open doors you hadn’t even considered.
Don’t Overthink the Timing
While research reveals clear patterns in hiring trends, don’t let timing considerations overwhelm your overall search.
“The best time to look for a job is when you need one,” says John Smith, a career consultant. “While it’s beneficial to be aware of hiring trends, it’s equally important to focus on the quality of your applications and the strength of your network.”
- Consistency is Key: Sure, there are “peak” times to apply, but waiting around for those moments might mean missed opportunities. Regularly updating your resume, networking, and keeping an eye on job listings ensures you’re always in the game.
- Golden Chances in Off-Peak Times: Just because it’s not the “ideal” time doesn’t mean opportunities don’t exist. Some of the best job offers might come when you least expect them. Plus, with fewer applicants during these periods, your application might just stand out more.
While hiring peaks and lulls exist, don’t become paralyzed optimizing every move. Consistency, preparation and relationship building will serve you well. Time your search strategically, but stay determined and open-minded.
Now you know the answer to the question “what time of year do companies hire in the USA?”. Well, January, February, September, and October are usually the top months. But that doesn’t mean you should stop looking the rest of the year. Jobs can pop up anytime. Always have your resume ready, keep learning new things, and apply when you find a good fit. Sometimes, you might find a great job when you least expect it. Good luck with your job search!