It’s a common myth that recruiters and hiring managers put hiring on hold during the holidays. However, this simply isn’t true: a survey of recruiters by online executive career network ExecuNet says 95% of recruiters believe you should continue your job search through the holidays, and 31% believe that job hiring increases during the month of December. That means that while you’re prepping for holiday festivities, you should be prepping your resume too. Here are just a few reasons why December is the best time to job hunt.

There’s less competition for the same jobs. Most people relax their job search during the holidays, which lessens competition and makes you look more diligent if you keep applying. There may also be more openings – many will wait to quit their jobs until January, meaning positions will be open at the beginning of the year. Companies plan for this and will up their hiring quota toward the end of the year.

Most companies have greater end-of-year budgeting allotments. Regardless of whether your target company’s fiscal year ends in December, or if it is simply the end of the quarter, budgeting changes may allow companies to hire more people in December or January than during any other time of year. And in many cases, if positions remain vacant by the new year, they are removed – even though this may lead to a department being understaffed. Therefore, recruiters are often scrambling to fill positions.

Management may get incentives for hiring. Speaking of scrambling, hiring managers may be looking for brilliant candidates to fluff up their end-of-year performance review. They’re also getting approval for any big plans for the new year – which could open up new positions which haven’t been listed yet. There’s no need to wait: work hard to ensure your resume gets into their inbox. 

There are a ton of networking opportunities. Holiday parties and luncheons are great ways to get new search opportunities in new fields – and you’re already connected! While you would never want to dampen the mood at a function, there are plenty of chances during the holiday season to reach out to old friends and tell them about your job search. They may have valuable contacts that you’d never be able to access if you didn’t network. You can also reach out to your target companies, companies you’ve interviewed with in the past, and other networking contacts to wish them a happy holiday: this might even get your foot in the door for a January interview. 

The holiday spirit inspires people (especially recruiters). Research shows that people are often friendlier and easier to approach during the holiday season. This is to your advantage, especially if your schedule is flexible – a simple lunch or informative interview with a recruiter could lead to a brand-new job. Friends and other networking contacts may also be more willing to assist you in your job search and “pay it forward.” And volunteering can help you make new networking contacts – just remember the reason for the season, because genuine kindness and joy can go a long way this time of year.

 If all else fails, you’ll stay motivated – and you’re ahead of the game. Even if you don’t find a job in December, it’ll be easy to keep your momentum going through January if you don’t take a break. Though the job market is often more competitive in January and February, your resume will be one of the first things hiring executives see when they return. You’ll have a head-start on networking, resume polishing, and searching before most people even think about taking the first step. So why take a break? Get out there and have a new job by new year.

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