Are you looking for a job? Then you should know that the latest (April 2018) jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed a gain of 164,000 jobs added in April and the unemployment rate dipped to 3.9 percent, the lowest it's been in 18 years. So, it's not a bad time to be out on the job market – or thinking about what your next career move will be.

A recent report from Career Sidekick suggests that May may be one of the best months of the year to find a job. The report breaks down which times of the year are best for job seekers and why. If you’re hoping to join the workforce or shift to a different job sometime soon, here’s when you’ve got the best and worst shot at landing a position. 

The Best Times of Year to Find a Job

Warmer weather is a boon for business owners because more people are socializing or taking vacations. However, the summer months can be a veritable drought for job hunters. According to Career Sidekick, workers who apply for jobs in June, July and August are more likely to hit a dead end because hiring managers may be taking vacations of their own. 

November and December might also seem like good times to find a job, particularly if you’re looking for work in the retail or hospitality sectors. After all, this is the time of year that people will be out shopping in droves and planning holiday parties or travel. Surprisingly, however, these months are also more likely to be poor times to try to find a job. Those hiring managers who didn’t take their vacation over the summer may be booking time off then. Another obstacle to finding work is the fact that many companies are prepping to roll out their annual budget for the next year at this point, meaning they may be waiting until after the holidays to bring new team members aboard. 

So when is the most favorable time to look for a job? According to Career Sidekick, you’ve got the best odds of finding work between January and May – and again in September and October. Early in the year, companies have a brand-new budget to work with. Human resources personnel may be less likely to book vacation time, meaning they’ve got more room in their schedules to line up interviews. Aside from that, there’s pressure to get fully staffed before summer rolls around so there are no issues when people start gearing up for vacations again.

In September and October you’ve got a similar set of circumstances. Hiring managers are back on the job after the lazy days of summer wind down, and they may be prepping to hire people for the holiday season. In October 2017, for example, the economy added 271,000 jobs, compared to 221,000 in August of the same year.

Career Sidekick did point out one exception to the rule, citing the end of December as potentially being ripe for opportunity. Essentially, job seekers who are sending off résumés at the very end of the year may be positioned to get an early start on the hiring rush that kicks off in January. 

(For more, see 9 Different Ways to Find a New Job.)

Getting Started on Your Job Search

With summer right around the corner and fall not too far behind, it’s a good time to rethink your approach to finding a job. First, take time to consider what you’re looking for in a job and how that ideal matches up with your skills and experience. Next, evaluate the action steps you’re currently taking to find employment.

For example, how are you looking for work? If you’re spending your time cruising online job boards, is there another avenue where you may find open positions that you haven’t tapped yet, such as social media? What about your network? Are you reaching out to past employers, former co-workers, college professors, mentors or other people you know who might be able to connect you with the right opportunity?

Review the basics, such as your résumé and elevator pitch. Have you fine-tuned each of them to make sure that they clearly convey who you are and what you bring to the table as an employee? Finally, review your social media presence to see what kind of an image you’re projecting. A CareerBuilder survey from 2016 found that 60 percent of employers look at job candidates’ social-media profiles as part of the hiring process, so you want to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward online.

(For more, see 10 Tips for Strategic Networking.)

The Bottom Line

When it comes to job hunting, the Career Sidekick report suggests that the early bird is more likely to get the worm. If you’ll be looking for work in the summer months or closer to the end of the year, remember to keep things such as vacation schedules and hiring budgets in mind. Understanding the ebb and flow of hiring seasons can be a significant help as you conduct your job search.  

(Also, check out How to Start a Career that Ends in the C-Suite.)