Timing is important when it comes to looking for a job — believe it or not, the time of year and even the day of the week can affect how successful you are in finding and securing the right position. But how much of a difference does it really make?
In this guide, we'll answer questions like:
- When is the best time to look for a job?
- Are some months of the year better for job searching than others?
- What day do most jobs get posted?
- What is the best time of day to apply for jobs?
- Should you apply for a job as soon as it's posted?
- How long does it take to find a job?
- How soon is too soon to leave a job?
Read on to have your pressing time-related job search questions answered — as well as some additional food for thought as you get ready to start your job search.
What is the best time to apply for jobs?
Have you ever heard the expression, "the best time to start is now?" That applies to your job search, too.
Which is to say: There is no single best time to apply for a job. That said, there are definitely times of the year, week, and day that are busier for hiring than others, so let's take a look.
Related: How Many Jobs Should You Apply For in 2023?
Looking for a brief rundown of the best time to look for a job? Here are some quick statistics:
- The best time of year to apply for jobs is in January and February.
- The best day to apply for jobs is Tuesday.
- The best time to apply for jobs is around midday.
- The best time to interview is in the morning.
Curious about why? Let's dive in.
The best time of year to apply for jobs
While there's no bad time to look for a job, you may have an easier time of it if you apply during busier months.
A year-round guide to job searching
A lot of people start their job search in the new year, so if you're looking to start fresh in 2023, you won't be alone.
January and February are the best months to begin your job search. Why? Most companies will set their hiring budgets start advertising jobs toward the end of the year and then slow down over the holidays. Over January and February, business will being ramping back up and those hiring decisions will be made.
March, April, and May are also good months to look for a job. There will be fresh vacancies from people who have completed their own job search earlier in the year and most businesses will be in full swing.
June, July, and August aren't ideal times to start your job search because things tend to slow down again over the summer. That doesn't mean you shouldn't start looking for jobs then, but don't despair if things seem slower than usual.
September, October and November are fairly busy job search months — you'll find a lot of jobs posted then, but you'll also be competing with a batch of recent graduates, so be prepared.
December is the slowest time of the year for hiring. Between major holidays and end-of-year financial decisions, most companies won't be looking for new hires in December — which doesn't mean that you shouldn't being early to get a head start on the January job hunt.
The best day of the week to look for jobs
It probably comes as no surprise that most jobs are posted toward the beginning of the working week, between Monday and Wednesday. The single busiest day for new job postings is Tuesday, so if you can only set aside one day of the week to look for jobs, make it a Tuesday.
Keep in mind, however, that as long as the application period is open, someone will most likely look at your application no matter what day of the week you send it in.
The best time of day to look for jobs
Most companies post their open jobs around 11am, so if your goal is to be among the first to apply, that’s when you should generally start checking job boards.
Are you more of an afternoon person? There's usually a secondary spike in job postings around 4pm, so if you can't start looking until later in the day, you'll still find plenty of new jobs posted.
Related: The Best Sites To Post Your Resume (And How To find Them)
How soon to apply after jobs are posted
Is there an advantage to applying as soon as a job is listed? Sometimes, yes.
Some positions are based on the model that they’ll hire people until their quota is filled — and in this case, you’ll definitely want to be among the first to apply. Others have a set deadline, meaning you can send in your application right up to the last minute and still be on equal footing with those who applied before you.
Always check the job posting itself — it may specify what type of application process it is. If in doubt: As long as a job is still up, you can (and should) still apply for it.
What if the job has been listed for a while?
Don’t let this be an automatic deterrent. Some companies are looking to fill multiple positions, while others have rolling applications for hard-to-fill positions.
If the position appears to be open and the application time period is still ongoing, send in your application to avoid potentially missing out. If you aren’t sure, send the hiring manager an email to clarify — and start building your professional relationship with them at the same time.
How much time will my job search take?
The average job search takes between one and three months from when you start applying to when you land the job. However, as it’s not uncommon for job searches to take up to six months (or more, depending on your industry and the type of position you’re applying for).
How soon is too soon to start looking for a new job?
It's never too soon to leave a job if you're unhappy. If know straight away that a job isn't a good fit for you, it's better to start your job search immediately than to wait until you're miserable.
Ideally, recruiters are looking for a pattern of long-term stays in previous positions (2+ years). One or two shorter stays isn't going to raise any red flags, as long as it doesn't become a pattern.
If you've been at a new job for less than six months, it's usually best to leave it off your resume entirely. Employers generally won't bat an eye at employment gaps of six months or less, so you can avoid questions about why you left your previous role so soon by simply skipping it.
When is the best time to interview?
According to a study from the Harvard School of Business, the best time to interview is first thing in the morning. Interviewers tend to subconsciously rate later interviews against earlier ones (instead of judging them on their own merits) and may be less impressed by equally qualified candidates who interview later in the day.
Tips for timing your job search right
Be aware of seasonal hiring trends
Some industries follow seasonal hiring cycles (such as accounting firms hiring during tax season or retail companies hiring extra holiday workers). Others, like most offices, are much slower to hire over the summer and during holiday periods. If you can, find out if your industry follows a seasonal hiring cycle and aim for that.
Don’t wait until you’re desperate
If you have it in mind that you should wait to start looking until the market is busy, you may miss out on your dream job.
Most importantly, if you’re in need of a new job, don’t wait until any other time of year to start looking for it — start looking as soon as possible. The more desperate you are to find work, the more likely you are to settle for a bad fit — which means you may be starting your job search all over again in a few months.
Keep your resume up to date
Even if you're happy at your current job, remember that you're always allowed to look at other opportunities. You should keep your resume and professional network up to date so you're prepared to take action when a great opportunity comes along. When you have time to wait for the right job, you can be much more selective about your requirements — whether that's salary, company, or role — and what you actually want.
If you know you’re going to be starting your job search soon, but aren’t sure quite when, you should get ahead of the game by getting your resume up to speed. Upload your resume to the tool below to get some quick optimization pointers to help you put your best foot forward when the time comes.
Timing isn't everything
Regardless of where you are in your job search, remember to take advantage of the resources you have available to you. See our templates of successful resumes you can base yours on if you’re looking for a solid place to start.
Ultimately, the time of year, week, and day are all secondary factors in your job search. If you see that a position you’d like to have is open and actively accepting applications, apply for it! Even if you aren’t successful, it’s a significant step in moving toward the career you’d like to have.