The Job Search Is On
Ah, a new year. January is always a month of unabashed optimism, where many of us commit to doing something we’ve otherwise put off. Maybe it’s losing weight (again), spending less time on devices or simply being a nicer person. For plenty of people, it’s finding a new job.
And why not? The job market is hotter than ever. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the latest national unemployment rate was only 4 percent, an astounding 2.6 percent in Austin and an even lower 2.4 percent in Denver. They also say the median number of years people stay in their current job is 4.2 years. For millennials, anyone born between 1981 and 1996, it’s even less, only 3.2 years. That means there’s a whole lot of people on the job hunt every year. But why? Why aren’t people staying in one job for very long?
Related: IT Staffing and Projects: 2018 Year in Review and 2019 Outlook
It may be easier to see why people don’t leave. In an interesting study by Harvard Business Review, it was discovered that the people who stay at their job do so because:
- They find their work enjoyable 31% more often
- They use their strengths 33% more often
- They expressed 37% more confidence they were growing their skills
The article concluded that if managers want to keep their people, they need to work with each employee on an individual level to give them the opportunity to do work they enjoy, use their strengths and “carve a path for career development.” If that’s not happening for you at your current employer, there’s a good chance you’re among those looking for a new job this year.
Is January The Best Month to Pound The Pavement?
While January may be the month of new beginnings, does that mean it’s the best time to start your job search? Interesting question. January seems like a perfectly good month to make a transition. Budgets are fresh, initiatives are launching and require new talent, managers are ready to fill vacated positions from the previous year, and everyone is back at work from vacation.
Related: Don’t Burn Bridges
While the first quarter of the calendar year is ripe with opportunities, the downside is you are likely competing with more people for that job. It’s like putting your house on the market in the spring. Yes, that’s when most buyers start their house search, but it’s also when most home sellers are putting their homes on the market. That means your home is being compared to a lot of other homes, potentially driving down your asking price or drawing the sales process out for months. Same goes with your resume. You may have a great one, but how does it stack up to the dozens, if not hundreds, of others?
On the other hand, if you wait a few months until much of the hiring fury is over, when your resume may be one of the few they review, you may have missed your chance. The positions are now filled, right? Not so fast.
There’s A Season for Everything
According to Monster.com, many hiring managers start their search before January, knowing they’ll have the budget to hire when the clock strikes midnight. They can pull the trigger on January 2nd instead of waiting until then to begin the often long hiring process. Now, this blog is written in January, so you may be thinking, “Well, great. I just missed my window.” That’s not always the case.
Depending on the job you are hoping to land, there are seasons of hiring. Most hiring managers are smart enough to know they should reserve headcount budget throughout the year, particularly if they have a “busy” season where they need to staff up. For IT, peak hiring is often at the beginning of the year when clients have fresh budget to spend. That’s not to say they aren’t hiring at other times of the year.
The IT industry is a bit unique in that they must find the skills to tackle whatever project comes their way. If they need someone particularly savvy with a certain piece of technology in order to fulfill a project requirement, it won’t matter what season it is. They simply need the talent yesterday or the project will be delayed. They may want to hire a full-time employee or opt for a contractor to only fill that specific skill requirement for a particular project.
Another point to note is that IT talent is notorious for job skipping, especially if they’re good. They’re in high demand and can either quickly find another gig or easily freelance and name their price. For many IT jobs, like software development, tech pros most often stay in their jobs less than three years, well below the median job tenure.
That’s good news for you if you’re in the tech industry. Jobs are continually opening up and must be filled. You may just be the perfect person to fill one, winter, spring, summer or fall.
Our Best Tips to Landing Your Next Job
To boost your chances of being hired, it’s a good idea to be flexible and broaden your skill set. You may be kick ass in one skill, but if you can demonstrate a wider range of knowledge, you’re going to be able to fill many more positions without being pigeon-holed into one. You’re also showing your potential employer that you can provide more return on their dollar by being able to move across projects as needed. This may reduce the number of people they have to hire and raise your resume to the top of the list.
Of course, it’s recommended to have your feelers out there at all times. You never know when an opportunity may open up. But finding those job opportunities isn’t always easy. You can search on a job board, but that can be overwhelming and often set you down a time-intensive rabbit hole.
Working with an IT recruiter can save you incredible amounts of time and expose you to jobs you may never see otherwise. It’s a great way to let industry pros keep tabs on job openings while you focus on your current job. Experts estimate it takes “roughly one month to find a job for every $10,000 of the paycheck you would like to earn.” Who has time for that?
Related: What Should Candidates Look for in a Recruiter?
By having a relationship with an IT recruiter you can let them do the heavy lifting for you. They have the connections and insight to know who’s hiring and when. Plus, if they are a reputable company, they’ll take the time to get to know you as well – that’s what a relationship is all about. If the recruiter knows you beyond what’s printed on your resume, they can more easily match you with the right job opening.
It’s not simply about matching skills with requirements, either. They are looking out for your best interest and know which companies would be able to fulfill what the Harvard Business Review suggested: give you the opportunity to do work you enjoy, use your strengths and map out a path for your career development.