For jobseekers, the end of the year often seems like a black hole for quality job prospects. Most candidates think that searching for a job during the holidays is a bad idea, when in reality, it is the best time to look for a job with the most cards stacked in your favor:

1. Less competition now

Let’s face it – around the holidays many people tend to “check out.” This includes the candidates that you’ll be competing with for job openings. How many times have you said to yourself, “I’ll do this after Christmas” or “I’ll get to it after New Year’s”. It’s human nature, reinforced by the artificial ritual of New Year’s Resolutions. Taking advantage now gives you a month long head start on everybody else, where there is …

1a. More competition later

Many employees hang on to their jobs just long enough to collect their holiday bonus and reach the end of the year. As soon as January 1st rolls around, the resume is in circulation and you have a new competitor for that job you were eying.

2. More networking opportunities

With all of the holiday parties and charity events taking place in the month or so between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, the job seeker has a wealth of networking opportunities to re-establish relationships, meet new contacts and generally make it known that a job search is underway. Remember though, that networking is farming and not hunting. It takes time to cultivate and reap the benefits.

3. HR employees are more receptive (and giving)

Generally speaking, people are in a better mood and more giving around the holidays, and that goes double for HR professionals. You know, the ones actually looking over your resume and doing the legwork of hiring you. From August to November, HR staffs are evaluating and shepherding a mass of entry level graduates through the doors. From January through March, they are doing the same for programs and departments with annual budget refreshes. Both of these are difficult, arduous times for HR. When do they get a break? Yep – between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. This break means that your resume coming across their desk during that time stands a much better chance of a favorable review.

4. Budget renewal

Speaking of budget refreshes, many companies renew departmental and program budgets on an annual basis utilizing the “spend it or lose it” approach. This works to your benefit in two ways. Managers often have an incentive to get you on the books by the close of the year to justify their budgets, and any increases in the budget for the following year typically include new hiring which must be started immediately to have the candidate in place when the money is available.

5. You can sneak in the back door

Many senior executives take vacation time during the holidays. This means your resume may be evaluated by someone with less rigorous standards and the bar may be lowered for getting an interview. Chances are you’ll still be evaluated at some point by the vacationing honcho, but by that point you’ll have made it at least to the interview stage where your personality and experience can shine.

6. The best time to plant an oak tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.

In other words, stop procrastinating. If you’d like a professionally written resume that’s guaranteed to get attention from recruiters and hiring managers, please check out our resume writing and editing services.