If you’ve stumbled on #careertok or logged into LinkedIn recently, you’ve probably heard about the September Surge. If the term is new to you, you might guess it’s related to a surge in inflation or back-to-school traffic. But unfortunately, like I was, you’d be wrong.
As a career and finance writer, the term wasn’t a part of my vocabulary, so I took this blunder as an opportunity to educate myself on the ins and outs of the September Surge. After taking a deep dive on Google, watching a few too many TikToks, and consulting a career expert, I’m equipped to give you the CliffsNotes version of the September Surge and what it means for your career.
What is the September Surge?
Lauren McGoodwin, founder of Career Contessa and Power Moves author, defines the September Surge as an increase in job postings and hiring by companies that usually starts after Labor Day and goes until about Halloween. “While there isn’t hard data,” Lauren shares, “Just go on LinkedIn. It’s easy to find the anecdotal evidence to support this!” And she’s right. It seems like everywhere you turn this year, there’s talk of the September Surge and how job seekers need to utilize it to secure a new role before the end of the year.
What Causes the September Surge?
As McGoodwin explained, there is no hard evidence to back up the September Surge. According to Indeed, companies do a majority of their hiring in January and February. So, what causes this surge later in the year if it’s not a peak hiring time? There are a few potential reasons.
- Summer is over, and people are back to work. “More people are focused on work during this time and not fighting to figure out childcare, vacations, etc., so job seekers will get a higher ROI on their job search efforts right now,” McGoodwin explains.
- For companies with a fiscal year-end fast approaching, teams are looking to utilize their remaining budgets to find valuable employees.
- With the holidays around the corner, industries with a seasonal uptick in work, like retail, are looking to hire to accommodate the upcoming busy season.
- On the opposite end of the spectrum, as one season for vacations ends, another one is a few months away. Companies that don’t see an increase in business in the latter half of the year use September and October to fill open roles before the holiday season starts to slow down business in November and December.
What Does it Mean for Job Seekers?
Simply put, this is the best time to secure a new opportunity before the end of the year. If you’re actively job-seeking or you’ve been considering checking out the job market, the odds are in your favor. If you miss the wave of hiring in September and October, you may be waiting until January or February to find a new job. “It’s time for job seekers to turn off their summer autopilot and start engaging,” McGoodwin advises. “Update your resume, be active on LinkedIn, go to networking events, and set up informational interviews.”
Five Ways to Prepare for the September Surge
If you’re convinced it’s time for you to hit the job market, where should you start? “Be ready to sell your skills! I can’t emphasize enough that the job search is all about finding the right match—and the faster you can sell yourself as the solution to a company’s problem, the better,” McGoodwin highlights. If you want to take full advantage of this September Surge, here are five things you can do right now.
- Update Your Resume and Cover Letter: It almost goes without saying, but if you’re in the job market, it’s time to update your resume and cover letter. It’s best to create a templated resume and cover letter you can then tailor based on the role you’re applying to.
- Refresh Your Digital Presence: Hand-in-hand with updating your resume and cover letter is refreshing your digital presence. Ensure your LinkedIn is up-to-date and highlights your marketable skills and check your other channels to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward.
- Network, Network, Network: I know networking in today’s world can feel stale and boring, but I promise it’s worth it. And keep in mind networking isn’t just in-person events anymore. It can be sending someone a message and a connection request on LinkedIn, DMing someone whose career you admire on Instagram, asking a mentor for a referral, or scheduling a virtual coffee with a previous coworker. Be authentic and get creative so you can make networking work for you.
- Create a Target List: If you want to take a proactive approach, make a list of companies that interest you. Then check out their careers site for open roles, reach out to any cold or warm connections you have, or connect directly with a recruiter.
- Follow-Up: The reason there’s a surge right now is because people are busy. If you don’t hear back from a networking request or a job application, make the effort to follow up. Send a kind reminder to bump your request or resume to the top of their inbox. If you don’t hear back after following up, at least you can say you tried.