best time to start accounting job search

The Best Time to Start Your Finance or Accounting Job Search This Year

 

A few decades ago, choosing an employer was like choosing a spouse. You committed for life – or at least several years.

Nowadays, people aren’t afraid to switch companies as they climb the career ladder, especially if they’re not getting what they want from their current roles. Millennials in particular see nothing wrong with leaving a job if they’re unsatisfied.

But as the saying goes, timing is everything. Even if you’re ready to move on from your job, you need to strategize on when to make the transition. If you’re currently working for a company that pays bonuses, pay outs generally occur early in the year. You’ve earned that money, and you’ll feel better about leaving if you wait until you receive it.

Even if you’re ready to move on from your job, you need to strategize on when to make the transition.

Besides, most companies begin thinking about their resourcing needs in January, but they’re too preoccupied with year-end closes to focus on hiring until February. That’s why BVOH Finance & Accounting Search advises candidates to start updating resumes at the beginning of the year with the understanding that activity will really start to pick up in February. Many opportunities open up during the first few months of the year if you time the process right.

Understanding the Timeline

I get a lot of calls in January from people who want to change jobs. They’ve had downtime during the holidays to prioritize, and they’ve decided their current employer isn’t a good fit.

Maybe they’re not advancing as quickly as they’d hoped at their current company, or their boss isn’t providing enough mentorship. January seems like the natural time to make a fresh start. But before you jump into the search, you need to consider the standing trends throughout the year.

January is generally slower as firms wrap up their year-ends, so it’s a good month to polish your resumé. Few hires happen this month, but you want to be ready to jump on opportunities as they come. Talk to recruiting agencies early in the year so that they understand your career goals and are well positioned to set up interviews during the key hiring period, which lasts from February through April/May.

Talk to recruiting agencies early in the year so they understand your career goals and are well positioned to set up interviews during the key hiring period.

The timeline becomes challenging during April because of spring break. Hiring managers with kids usually go on vacation for a week while schools are closed, and then May is again a busy time for most companies.

March, April, and May are also prime months for folks coming out of public accounting. Busy seasons are starting to wind down and there are generally a lot of companies searching for these people. If you are in public accounting, you might think about getting a head start on your peers – although there may be less opportunities available, there will also be far less competition for the choice roles.

It’s in a company’s best interest to hire people when they’re fresh and in the right mindset to make a job transition, because it is an intensive process. They will be anxious to get you in the seat, but we generally recommend that a candidate try to take a little bit of time off between jobs to refresh themselves whether a long weekend or a week away.

If you’re unsure whether you should reach out to a firm, put yourself in the hiring managers’ shoes.

Summer is slow, as people travel throughout July and August before getting caught up in back-to-school routines, so they’re not the most active months. However, firms hurry to onboard new hires between September and November, before their budgets close. You want to position yourself to join the company as soon as the hiring manager is ready in the fall.

If you’re unsure whether you should reach out to a firm, put yourself in the hiring managers’ shoes. They’re likely advanced in their careers and they probably have families. Their schedules align with school vacations and holiday breaks, so there will be lulls during Fourth of July week or Christmas vacation. Early spring and fall are your best openings when searching for new positions.

Landing a new accounting job takes patience and preparation, not to mention a keen awareness of the best times to make your move. By understanding the ebbs and flows of the year, you position yourself in the right place when they’re ready to bring on someone new. Don’t wait until it’s too late to make the necessary connections.

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