The breeze is getting ever so slightly cooler. The nights are more quiet, the mornings more calm. As summer breaks — slowly, here in D.C., but surely — I’m always taken back to that same new feeling I would get every fall as I prepared to go back to school.
I remember sitting with anxious anticipation at my dining room table, organizing stacks of loose-leaf paper into binders, planning my first day outfit, and swearing this year would be the perfect year, if only I prepared appropriately.
I’m not one to get that sense of newness in the spring. For me, it’s all about the end of summer and early autumn. As the back-to-school displays pop up in stores, I find myself getting restless and craving change. I start to organize my life and write lists and make plans. And without fail, anytime I’ve been in a less-than-ideal working situation, autumn has been the season that given me the motivation to get serious about my job hunt.
Those feelings alone are enough to have me convinced that August is a great month to start kicking your search into high-gear, but there’s some solid data backing it up as well.
Think like a recruiter
When it comes to job hunting, it’s a good idea to adopt the mindset of a hiring manager, Monster.com says, and part of that is understanding recruitment cycles. While a few industries tend to have their own unique cycles (tax companies aren’t going to be looking for new accountants in April, for instance), in general, folks are back from vacations and ready to hire in the fall. Often, the goal is to use up budgets and fill empty positions before the holidays. Budgets hold a lot of weight when it comes to hiring, so it’s always a plus when you’re at the end of a budgeting cycle and a department needs to use it or lose it!
Avoid the “winter plague”
According to TopResume, “winter plague” can be a problem for job-seekers. Come November and December, don’t expect quick calls back about open positions or invitations to interview. Most of the few jobs available will be seasonal or mediocre, and hiring managers’ professional lives tend to fall by the wayside in the holiday season. They often hold off on hiring and recruiting until they’re able to put their full focus on it the next year.
By this time, your end-of-budget bump is in the rearview mirror, and most organizations are waiting until the start of the year for new budget money to kick in.
The winter blues won’t help you much, either, when it comes to being motivated to apply. Between the chillier weather, potential illnesses going around, and general sense of seasonal dreariness, you may not be feeling your best when you walk into an interview. Sure, you might have dreams of a winter wonderland, but more often than not, it’s simply a cold, wet, and cumbersome journey through the end of the year.
As we inch our way into the latter half of August, consider shining up your resume, sharpening some new pencils, and getting ready for 2018’s final big hiring push.
By Alyssa Huntley
Alyssa Huntley lives and works in Washington, D.C. She has written about a range of topics, from technology to real estate to women's issues. Find her on Twitter @alyssajhuntley or check out her website, www.alyssajhuntley.com.