Job hunting during the 4th quarter - a risky move or a power play?

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Ah yes, Q4. The final quarter of the year. A time to focus on wrapping up loose ends at work, ensuring you've met your professional goals, and finishing the year strong. For many, however, it is also the time to begin searching for a new job. Depending on your field, this is either a potentially dangerous time to switch jobs or the perfect opportunity for a new venture. Not sure which category applies to you? Read on for help determining if the fourth quarter is the right time for your next career move.

 

Risky business?
The end of the fiscal year can be an interesting time for companies. Depending on the state of the economy and the company's success that year, they might have a budget surplus or be cutting back in an effort to make their annual budget. If there's a budget surplus - good news: the company may be planning some fourth quarter hiring. However, if they're tightening their belts to ride out the year and meet their budget, chances are slim they'll be hiring additional staff.

 

If you're considering launching a job search during Q4, the first thing you should do is study your industry - or, if you're changing fields, the industry you're interested in joining. Read up on how the industry as a whole is performing, and research the specific companies you'd like to work for to gauge the probability that they'll be hiring late in the year. It may turn out that the fourth quarter is an optimal time for your job hunt - or that you'll be better off waiting until January.

 

Why Q4 might be the right time for your job search.
While doing your research is always important (that information could also come in handy during interviews!), even if the job market in your industry or location is tight, there are still good reasons to launch your search during Q4:

 

  • You could benefit from budget rules.
    Many hiring managers receive a specific allotment for personnel at the beginning of the fiscal year. If they don't use those funds before year-end, they run the risk of losing that piece of their budget for the following year. This can work in your favor.

  • Achieve seasonal success.
    Certain industries are more likely to hire extra staff as a lead-up to the end of the year - retailers, for instance, bulk up for the typically busy holiday season. So, if you're in the market for a retail position, Q4 just might be the perfect time to start searching.

  • You'll be giving yourself a head start.
    Kicking your search off early could provide a real edge over workers who don't start their job hunt until the new year - or who take a break from looking for a new job during the holidays. This means you'll have less competition for openings and a better chance of hiring managers seeing your resume and contacting you for an interview. Also, keep in mind that, even if an employer isn't hiring at the moment, it doesn't mean they aren't reading resumes and keeping an eye out for the right person - especially if they'll have the budget to make a hire at the beginning of the coming year.

Consider temp-to-perm until end-of-year.
Often, businesses without the budget to hire permanent staff at the end of the year may instead turn to temporary workers to fill the gaps. If you're new to the field, these jobs offer excellent opportunities to gain valuable industry experience with the potential to turn into full-time jobs. At the very least, it's a great way to build your resume and make new contacts.
If you're going to do it - do it right.

 

Regardless of when you kick off your job search, it's unlikely you'll land a new position if you aren't prepared. So, before you start sending resumes, take a moment to reflect on your education and professional experience. Are you qualified for the type of role you're interested in filling? If not, consider taking a class or attending a seminar to help bulk up your resume. Even mentioning that you're working toward a specific certification can pique employers' interest. Be sure that your resume and cover letter are accurate, professional and geared toward the particular industry and position you're aiming for. Resumes and cover letters that don't meet this basic criteria - and candidates who don't meet the basic criteria outlined in the job ad - will likely be ignored.


 

Let your attitude be the game-changer.
Even if you don't land your dream job during the fourth quarter, stay positive. Remember that you have an edge over the competition because you have all of your materials updated and you're prepared for interviews thanks to all of your industry-related research. So, when the new year starts, you'll be ready to hit the ground running.

 

Interested in more simple, yet effective tips for succeeding in today's working world? Contact your local Adecco representative today!