Feeling restless? Good news: Job openings are plentiful.
The end of one year and the beginning of the next naturally puts us in the mood to reevaluate our lives. You may even have more time than usual to ponder because many professions and businesses slow down — or come to a halt — this time of year.
If switching jobs is one of the issues you’re contemplating, that’s good news. In many industries, January and February are the peak hiring months. Companies have received their new budgets for the year, and slower-than-usual hiring during the months of November and December may have created pent-up demand. Plus, lots of people wait to receive their end-of-year bonuses before turning in their resignations and thus creating vacancies. Recently, the number of open jobs rose to the second-highest on record.
Do keep in mind, of course, that you won’t be the only person out there looking. Peak hiring time is also peak job-hunting time. You may even want to consider putting off contacting potential employers until late February, when the dust has settled a bit and competition has thinned. In fact, springtime in general is a good time for job hunting, often getting even better in May, when executives are both planning summer vacations and feeling impatient to complete their staffing before the doldrums of June, July and August.
Your decision will also depend on your motives for changing jobs. Are you simply seeking to cash in on the improving job market, perhaps feeling that you’ve been in your current position a little too long? Then you have the luxury of time. If your reasons are more pressing and involuntary — e.g., increasing family obligations, the need to relocate or a change in health status — then you’ll need to move more quickly, secure in the knowledge that at least your timing is optimal.
A note: Perhaps you’re perfectly happy in your current job, but all those reports of record-high employment rates and a tight job market have made you feel restless — or even that you “should” be out there seeking greener pastures. Don’t be bullied into leaving a situation you enjoy just because a market is hot. Trying to model your own personal decisions after a general trend too often backfires. Take a look at all those people who get burned trying to time the stock or housing markets.