There is no bad time to look for a new job, but January is widely recognised as one of the annual peaks for job searching.
Research by jobs search engine Adzuna shows that January sees a significant rise in the number of people looking for new roles, and while there's debate as to whether there's a corresponding increase in vacancies, many companies get new hiring budgets at the beginning of the year.
Following the Christmas break, hiring managers, employers and other key decision makers are also unlikely to be off work on holiday, meaning hiring decisions can be made faster. So, you should be looking to get your applications in at the beginning of the new year and the new hiring cycle that comes with it.
With many people resolving to make 2018 the year they find a new job, you may come up against more competition than at other times of the year. This means, instead of taking the Christmas holidays off from job hunting entirely, you can use the break as an opportunity to get ahead and prepare for the applications you'll be sending off throughout January.
The Christmas holidays are a great time to network
If you're trying to find a job, one of the more difficult things about going home during the holidays is having to field constant questions about your life plans and career goals. However, these conversations are also a chance to practise answering these kinds of questions, and talking about your skills and your interests - just as you'll be expected to in your applications and at interview - so make the most of it.
Up to around 70% of job openings are filled via some form of networking, so don't be afraid to discuss your job search and the kind of role you're hoping to find when you're at your family friend's Christmas party. You'll likely find you know someone who knows someone who can help you out, or get your CV in front of the right person.
You can also use the time off to reconnect with existing contacts via social media to wish them a happy Christmas, catch up and mention you're on the lookout for a job in the new year - if something comes up and they hear about an opportunity in the coming weeks, they'll have you in the forefront of their mind.
You can use your time off to do some research and add to your CV
Whether you've got a week off from your current job or a month-long university holiday, there are likely to be plenty of volunteering and temp work opportunities available to you over the Christmas period. These can serve to add to your CV, help you find a new interest and even make new contacts.
Far fewer people are likely to be applying for jobs over Christmas, so don't be afraid to send out some applications while the competition isn't so fierce. And if you're not ready to apply, you can use the extra free time to look at the kinds of jobs you'd like to apply for in the new year, take notes on job descriptions and catch up on news in your industry that will benefit you once you begin the application process come January.
And get your January job search game plan ready
Use the Christmas break to get all your job application materials lined up: update your CV, get a friend or family member to take new head shot for your LinkedIn profile, draft some cover letter outlines and reach out to people who can give you a reference to let them know you're job searching.
Research shows that six out of the top 10 days for job searches in 2017 were in January - so get some of your job searching and decision-making out of the way ahead of time. Then, once the first or second week of January comes around and other people begin searching for roles, you can spend more of your time finalising and submitting your applications.