When is the Best Time to Apply for Jobs? Your 2024 Job Search Timeline

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November 9, 2023
Edited by
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min read

3 key takeaways:

  • Understanding the current market
  • The best time to apply for jobs
  • How to use the Teal Job Application Tracker to manage your job search

2024 is going to be the year of your career.

And whether you're eager to rebound from a job loss or just feeling stuck in your current role, understanding the best time to apply for jobs is key to taking advantage of seasonal hiring waves—maximizing the opportunity to land your next position.

Understanding workplace trends and how to align your job search with peak hiring periods improves your visibility to hiring managers and increases the likelihood of a successful job search.

Understanding the job market cycle

Future job market trends are impossible to predict. The US job market cycle is the ebb and flow of job availability corresponding to economic conditions, seasonality, and industry demands.

Like the hot summer days shift quickly to crisp fall nights, swiftly followed by the first layer of snow, the job market heats up and cools off.

When the economy is buzzing? Companies hire more. During downturns or off-peak seasons, they pull back.

When is the best time of year to apply for jobs

Research conducted by Teal indicates the typical Teal member experienced a hiring timeline of 45 days (median) from application to offer between January 2022 and May 2023.

Data from Teal on the best time to apply for jobs taking the median from applied to first offer into consideration
Median time from first application to first offer for a typical Teal member.

Taking that data into consideration and combining it with Statista's findings that hiring peaks in January, February, and March, to get ahead of the curve, you should start prepping for (and completing!) applications around mid-November to early December.

This timing allows you to be on a hiring manager's radar right when they're looking to fill roles with the new year's budget and goals in mind.

When is the worst time to look for a job?

Following the same data mentioned above, the slow hiring months tend to be at the end of the year—especially during the holiday season in November and December. 

But, based on that same Teal's research, that doesn't mean these are the worst times to look for a job. You should still look or submit job applications (and more!). The details below explain why.

When do companies hire the most?

Companies generally do most of their hiring in the early part of the year, aligning with new hiring budgets and initiatives (from January through early summer months and July). 

This means if you're aiming for these prime hiring months, you should have your resume polished and references lined up before the New Year's ball drops. While hiring can happen year-round, this is the time when your job search might just pay off the quickest.

Track your entire job search with Teal

The Teal Job Application Tracker offers one dynamic platform to track all your job applications and manage your job search in one place.

With Teal, you can bookmark new jobs from over 40 job boards and keep track of tasks with custom checklists for each job application. You can also follow up on correspondence or applications by scheduling reminders and so much more.

Using a job application tracker duing the best time to apply for jobs
Use the Teal Job Application Tracker to manage your applications.

The best time to apply for a job

During November and December, while hiring managers may be out, budgets are spent, or companies are ramping up for Q1, activities like creating and updating your resume, actively applying, optimizing your social presence, networking, and laying the groundwork for an organized job search during this time are crucial to your future success. 

This slowdown in hiring is when you can lay the most solid foundation for your job search.

Think of this time as a strategic pause in interviewing, where you can:

  • Reflect on your employment goals
  • Upgrade your assets, making sure they include metrics, hard skills, and specific qualifications relevant to the industry you're applying in
  • Expand your professional network
  • Hit the apply button

Doing so will allow you to hit the ground running when hiring managers return from holiday vacations and the hiring season picks up again. Just remember to set realistic expectations for responses or the interview process during this slow period.

The best day of the week and the best time of day to apply for a job

Nuances like a specific time and specific days of the week to apply for a job come down to a few factors like time zone, industry, company size, and the schedule of the hiring manager.

The best time to apply for a job on any given day of the week or throughout that day is as soon as you see it listed on a job board and your assets are ready and aligned with the role.

Does that mean if you apply to job openings that have been active for a while, you won't get the job? No, not necessarily. But by waiting and hitting the apply button after a job has been posted for a significant amount of time, hiring teams may have already started interviewing other candidates and can be further along in the hiring process.

Pro Tip: Use Teal's Job Application Tracker and free Chrome extension to keep track of jobs you're interested in applying to, then track them from "interested" through "hired" for free.

Bookmarking roles during the best time of year to apply for jobs.
Bookmark roles you're interested with the Teal Chrome Extension as you move through job searching.

How far in advance should I apply for a job?

Just like day and time, how far in advance you should apply for a job comes down to various factors.

For planned career moves:

Start applying two to three months in advance. This gives you enough lead time to go through the hiring process.

At larger companies:

Big companies may have longer hiring processes due to more extensive HR procedures, so applying earlier is better.

In smaller companies:
While the process might move more quickly, applying as soon as you're ready is still wise.

If a deadline is specified:
Apply well before it. Waiting until the last minute can risk unexpected issues that might prevent you from submitting your application on time.

For seasonal jobs (i.e., a tech camp counselor in June, July, and August) or roles often filled by new graduates:
Be mindful companies may recruit months in advance. For summer positions, for example, applying in late winter or early spring is common.

When you have an inside referral:
Work together to coordinate timing. Your referral may offer valuable insight into the best time to submit your application.

All of that to say, if you come across a fresh job ad that matches your unique skills and experience, apply as soon as you can. This means after you've:

  1. Read the job description carefully to ensure it aligns with your needs, wants, and goals.
  2. Tailored your resume and cover letter using keywords and language from the job description so your qualifications align with every job you apply to.
  3. Completed steps one and two, then compare a job description to your resume

The Teal AI Resume Builder offers a Matching Mode to compare your resume to any job description. Get an instant Match Score with a breakdown of how well your resume aligns with the language, keywords, and skills of the job.

Comparing a resume and job description during the best time to appy for jobs
Use Matching Mode to align your resume and any job description before you hit apply.

How to plan your job search

As you start your job search, a well-thought-out plan that helps you stay on track and organized is your key to finding the right job—and keeping you from feeling overwhelmed.

When to start looking for a new job

The best time to start looking for a new job is as soon as you realize you need one—whether by choice or circumstance.

Regardless of the reasons—dissatisfaction with your current role, a desire for a new challenge, or a necessity like an organizational restructure—the earlier you start looking for new jobs, the better. 

How many jobs to apply for

If you're wondering "how many jobs I should apply for," you should know it's a common question without a one-size-fits-all answer. 

You see, it's not just about the quantity of applications but the quality and relevance of each. Are you qualified for the roles you're applying to? Do they align with your career goals? Does the culture or industry make sense and seem like a good fit?

It's better to apply to fewer jobs that fit your skills and goals rather than going on job interviews for a variety of random positions. 

How long it takes to find a job

Keep in mind that job hunting can take a while. Starting as soon as you know you need or want one gives you time to research, network, apply, and interview without feeling rushed. 

The answer to "How long does it take to find a job?" can vary widely for job seekers. Job searches are based on your industry, experience level, and the job market.

There are also ways to potentially speed up this process (networking, tailoring your resume for each job, and preparing thoroughly for interviews), but ultimately, there will be elements and circumstances outside of your control.

How Teal can help streamline your job search

Teal offers a suite of tools to help you manage your job search from start to finish on the same platform you create, tailor, and store your resume. With Teal, you can:

  • Centralize your resume management to simplify editing and organization.
  • Pinpoint gaps in your language and align your resume perfectly with the requirements of any role. 
  • Keep track of all your job applications and manage your job search all in one place.
  • Stay organized, save your contacts, and remember who you spoke with and when—so you never miss a follow-up again.
Maximizing hiring season with a job application tracker and resume builder in one
Manage your job search and all of your assets in one central location.

Maximize the best time to apply for jobs in 2024 with Teal

In the job market, timing is everything. And the best time to apply is as soon as you're ready.

Teal's Job Application Tracker can help you keep tabs on potential roles and organize your application process. It's an intuitive platform designed to streamline your search (while you manage your resume in the same place!).

With Teal, you're not just applying; you're strategizing—turning job searching into job finding.

Sign up for Teal for free today, and start 2024 applying with the confidence that comes from being perfectly prepared.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the peak hiring seasons to consider in 2024 for job seekers?

In 2024, the peak hiring seasons are typically at the beginning of the year, from January to March, when companies have fresh budgets and new business goals. Another smaller peak occurs in the early fall, from September to October, after summer vacations. It's advisable to start applying a few weeks before these periods to get ahead of the competition.

How far in advance should I start preparing my application materials before the hiring season starts in 2024?

It's wise to begin preparing your application materials at least one to two months in advance of the hiring season. This gives you ample time to tailor your resume, draft compelling cover letters, and reach out to your network for potential referrals or insights into upcoming opportunities.

If I miss the start of the hiring season in 2024, how long do I have before opportunities dwindle?

While the start of the hiring season sees a surge in job openings, opportunities do not vanish overnight. Hiring continues throughout the season, with a gradual slowdown towards the end. If you miss the initial rush, you still have a window of several weeks to apply, although the sooner you can submit your applications, the better your chances.

Kayte Grady

Kayte, Senior Copywriter at Teal and Champion of ADHD professionals, is a seasoned writer passionate about storytelling and career growth. With a data-driven approach to content marketing and a word-nerd knack for resume builder analysis, Kayte’s on a mission to empower job seekers to land a job they love. Constantly pivoting and reinventing herself, this social-worker-turned-marketer found growth and camaraderie in tech—a genuine surprise given her never-ending devotion to the paper calendar.

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