This question formed one our most popular posts on the Firehead blog a few years ago, so I thought we’d revisit it with a slightly longer answer. As a recruiter, I’m often asked when is the best time to ‘put yourself on the market’ when you’re looking for work. This is an honest enough question if you need a job and one that pops up more frequently coming up to Easter, Christmas or summer holidays when you have time to do the work and scout around. So I thought I’d address a couple of options here.
Short answer: When you need a job.
I know, you want strategy. That’s a little different. And there may be variables to consider, such as:
- Contract or salaried?
- Specific industry/field
- Budget cycles
- Academic year
- Holiday Season – see Is Christmas the best time to look for a new job?
However, the above are factors, not rules. There may be peak months for hiring in your profession or contract cover needed each holiday season or new budgets set every June – and you can work these things to your advantage. But they shouldn’t stop you from putting yourself on the market as soon as you’re looking for or thinking about your next job.
So when should you put your CV out to get a job? Now!
Long answer: Always be looking – and here’s why.
Sometimes the best time to look for a job is when you don’t really need one. The pressure isn’t on and you can really take your time to look around at the market and assess the opportunities.
In the digital field, for example, employers everywhere are facing a skills gap while jobseekers catch up with rapid technological change. This means opportunities for those who are available, adaptable and always tuned in when new opportunities are posted.
Getting a new job, especially in the digital field, is increasingly about having a good network – and being ready for opportunities to come your way at any time, not just when you are looking for a new position.
Being connected to the right people from peers to potential employers – though social networks, conferences, networking meetups, niche recruitment agencies, LinkedIn job alerts and so on – means that you are far more likely to be in the right place at the right time.
For example, as digital recruiters, we’ll often tweet about a job opportunity before it is uploaded to our website, or we may hear of potential new hires through our online conversations in the digital community and share it on through our networks.
Setting up your network in the new connected economy is the modern way to facilitate career serendipity and is as important these days as updating your CV.
Because if and when your dream job does come up, at least you’ll be looking and listening out for it.
Image: (CC) Eliazar Parra Cardenas/Flickr