The Best Times To Apply For Jobs In 2023: Full Guide

By Hannah Morgan | Career Sherpa - Reprinted with permission

Knowing the best times to apply for jobs can help you during your search and give you a better understanding of the job search landscape around you. But is it really that important? This guide will cover the best times to look for jobs, and what you can do if your search falls outside of these windows. What is the Best Time to Look & Apply for Jobs Each Year? Finding the right job opportunity and going through the hiring process to get an offer can take months. It's a big time investment, and it's not just you who's putting in the effort. Companies dedicate many resources to finding the right person. While hiring managers can bring new people into the organization at any time during the year, hiring activity can be noticeably higher during certain months. While there are no guarantees... Read more

No Barriers Warriors seeks Veterans with disabilities for 2023 backcountry expeditions

By Mike Smith | U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs © 2023, Reprinted with permission

No Barriers Warriors, an offshoot of the Veterans organization No Barriers USA, will open an application period to launch its 2023 program season on February 1. In 2023, No Barriers Warriors will have several programs for Veterans with disabilities: basecamp experiences in Red Feather, Colorado, and backcountry expeditions in the northern Colorado Rockies and the Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina. No Barriers Warrior programs help Veterans with service-connected disabilities to redefine their identity, purpose and community as they face past and present challenges. The programs run by No Barriers Warriors challenge Veterans to critically think about where they are in life, where they want to be and how to get there. The backcountry expeditions and basecamp experiences give them... Read more

How To Answer "What Is Your Work Style?"

By Hannah Morgan | Career Sherpa - Reprinted with permission

It's quite common to get asked "What is your work style?" in a job interview, so you need to be ready to answer it effectively. This guide will teach you how to prepare a response that shares the way you work, while also making interviewers eager to learn more about you as a candidate. Why This Question Gets Asked in Job Interviews. Job interviews are a chance to show that you can fit into an existing work structure. Companies already established protocols and ways of working and the preference is to hire someone who is familiar with their work style.... Read more

Login.gov Provides Access to VA Digital Products, Services

By VA Office | U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs © 2023, Reprinted with permission

Login.gov is an easy-to-use, U.S. federal government-provided credential that is built with modern security standards. It offers one account that provides access to VA digital products and services, as well as access to other government agencies. The first time you access products or services at VA that require a higher level of assurance, you may be asked to verify your identity through Login.gov. You can use your existing Login.gov account. Login.gov, which can be used to sign in to VA.gov, My HealtheVet, VA/DoD eBenefits, and the VA flagship mobile app, among other VA services, offers a slew of other benefits. For instance, it can be used to securely sign in when you apply for federal jobs on USAJOBS. One can also access the Trusted Traveler Programs at the U.S. Department of Homeland... Read more

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The Best Times To Apply For Jobs In 2023: Full Guide

By Hannah Morgan | Career Sherpa - Reprinted with permission

Knowing the best times to apply for jobs can help you during your search and give you a better understanding of the job search landscape around you.

But is it really that important?

This guide will cover the best times to look for jobs, and what you can do if your search falls outside of these windows.

What is the Best Time to Look & Apply for Jobs Each Year?

Finding the right job opportunity and going through the hiring process to get an offer can take months. It's a big time investment, and it's not just you who's putting in the effort. Companies dedicate many resources to finding the right person.

While hiring managers can bring new people into the organization at any time during the year, hiring activity can be noticeably higher during certain months.

While there are no guarantees (and you shouldn't let this dictate your actions), here are some of the best times to apply for jobs.

January & February

Believe it or not, one of the best times of the year to apply for a job, regardless of industry, is at the start of the year. January and February are prime hiring times for a few reasons.

Budget Availability

First, it's often the start of the fiscal year for many companies. While fiscal years can begin during any quarter, the beginning of the year is usually when budgets are sorted and ready for use. Organizations understand their hiring budget and can start taking full advantage of it!

There's less hesitation about bringing in new employees because the budget is intact. If you were to try and get a job later in the year, the companies you interview for might have already consumed a substantial portion of the budget. Therefore, there will be fewer opportunities and more reluctance, especially if the hiring manager is getting close to depleting the available funds.

During the winter season, companies may need to hire people. But because there's uncertainty with the budget, they may implement hiring freezes. Come January and February, personnel requirements become more apparent as budgets free up, resulting in a push for increased hiring activity.

Many organizations have a backlog of jobs that are waiting to be fulfilled, making this one of the best times to look for a job.

Job Openings

There's also the factor of job openings. Providing bonuses in December is common, so many people wait until January to resign and look for another opportunity. That results in more positions opening up.

Everyone Is Back From Vacation

January and February are also good times to apply for jobs because most employees are back in the office. As you know, November and December are prime vacation months. Business operations slow down, and more people take time off work to travel or visit family for the holidays.

Everyone will start to return to the office during the first week of January as the new year picks up. By the second or third week, business is back in full swing! Fewer people are out, resulting in the reliable presence of key decision-makers.

It's the perfect time for hiring managers to bring people in because there's less back-and-forth with out-of-office staff. The ones making hiring choices are all there, resulting in fewer delays and faster decisions.

March, April, & May

While January and February are definitely the best times to apply for a job, many see success during the spring season. It's also when you have the most competition! Upcoming college grads usually start to search for employment after graduation during this time.

Depending on the job you are looking for and the industry, this time of the year may or may not work in your favor.

Here's why:

A New Batch Of Potential Employees

Some companies specifically wait until the spring season to start hiring for entry-level jobs. They know the candidate pool will be plentiful as soon-to-be graduates enter the workforce. As a result, they may hold off on hiring for certain jobs until that time.

Momentum From January & February

Another reason March, April, and May are good months to apply for jobs is that they piggyback on the momentum from January and February. Hiring processes take a long time. Depending on the job, it might take multiple rounds of interviews and several months. Therefore, hiring managers can't go through their list of job openings at once.

Companies on a substantial hiring spree may extend that cycle well into spring.

Summer Is Looming

You must also consider the pressure organizations feel as the spring season looms to a close. What's after spring? The summer! That's when employees often request vacation time.

Summer and holiday seasons are the most-requested periods for vacation. As summertime inches closer, hiring teams feel the pressure to fill all open positions. They know that many people will be out, and they might need to find new employees to fulfill those responsibilities.

While every company operates differently, it's common for hiring activity to remain high at the start of spring. It may dwindle down as those open positions fill, but you can still find plenty of opportunities.

September & October

September and October can be hit or miss, since it all depends on the industry and company. For some organizations, these months can be just as busy as January and February, leading to an influx of open positions.

Hiring picks up during the fall because it's often the last time companies can bring in new people. Hiring activity falls substantially during the summer as people go on vacation. Those who don't take a holiday are often busy with increased business operations, leaving little time to go through the hiring process.

But after hiring managers come back from vacation, a new wave of hiring may occur. All those open spots left unfilled from the beginning of the year must happen during September and October before holiday hiring slowdowns happen.

The good news is that things are often less chaotic during the months of September and October, so it's one of the best times to apply for jobs if you don't like the hassle! Interviews go smoothly, and there's often less downtime. That means less waiting to hear about the next step and shorter times between your last interview and getting a job offer.

Does This Mean You Shouldn't Look or Apply At Other Times?

While the periods mentioned above are the best times to apply for jobs, don't let that stop you from seeking opportunities during other parts of the year. There are no hard and fast rules about hiring processes. Companies seek candidates whenever a position opens, or they need new employees.

That can occur at any point during the year! People quit, organizations expand, and roles change. You never know what openings you'll find.

In other words, there's never a bad time to look for a job.

If you're looking to make a change in your career, don't let the time of the year stop you from exploring your options. Start your job search and see what's available. Apply to positions that interest you and use your network to learn about openings that might be coming up.

If you don't find something that works for your needs, don't fret! Keep the search alive and continue checking the main job search websites. Something will come up eventually, and you should always try to apply as fast as possible.

Getting a job offer can sometimes feel like a numbers game. The more you apply to positions, the better your chances of getting that elusive offer. But it's also about the quality or fit for jobs you apply to. Randomly applying to any job isn't a good idea.

You're more likely to see increased hiring activity during the aforementioned periods. Meanwhile, the summer and early winters tend to be sparse. But that doesn't mean you should pause your job search until those times of the year.

Look now and see what opportunities are on the horizon.

How to Improve Your Chances Year-Round

It doesn't matter whether you're searching during the best times to apply for a job, or when hiring activity slows down. Landing a job involves more than submitting an online application!

Here are some tips to help you maximize your chances of getting a job offer, no matter when you apply.

Make the Most of the Lulls

Don't get discouraged if you have trouble finding open positions that match your career aspirations. That's normal, and it's only a matter of time before things pick up and you begin to see more opportunities to make big career moves. So, what should you do in the meantime?

Lulls in your job search will occur, but you must not grow complacent. Use that downtime to improve yourself and what you have to offer employers.

The worst thing you can do is get discouraged and wait for things to "pick up." As mentioned earlier, job searches can take months. Some people get used to not going to work and end up treating it like a vacation. This isn't time off, and you should never treat it as such.

Always make use of any free time you have.

Consider refreshing your resume. Your resume is one of the most important documents you'll utilize during your job search. There are always ways to improve.

Fine-tune every detail and make it as appealing as possible. You'd be surprised by how much difference a well-written resume can make.

Be sure you update your LinkedIn profile as well. A robust LinkedIn profile is accessible to anyone 24/7.

You can also beef up skills in other ways that can be listed on your resume. For example, you can look into volunteering at events.

If you feel confident with your resume, try learning a new skill. Think about what skills are relevant to your industry and invest in improving your understanding of them. It doesn't matter how proficient you think you are. There's always room to grow.

Focus on core skills, and your improved competencies may lead to a better salary or position.

You can also work on soft skills like time management or communication. Take classes online and read books that help you become the best employee possible.

Try to make the most of your time. It can be disheartening not to find a job right away and feel tempted to wait for "better" times to apply. Keep yourself busy and put that extra time to good use!

Don't Hesitate If You See an Opportunity You Like

Even if it's not one of the best times to apply for a job, it's always a good idea to check on opportunities regularly. Make a habit of viewing job boards, LinkedIn posts, company hiring pages, and more.

Go one step further and set up alerts with your favorite listing sites. They can notify you of new jobs that meet the parameters you set. You'll be one of the first to know when something comes up.

When you see an opportunity you like, don't hesitate to pounce! Apply for those jobs as quickly as possible. Hiring managers may pay closer attention to the first few applications that come in. If they see what they like, you may find yourself getting phone interviews far sooner than you thought.

Act fast and jump on opportunities that seem like the right fit. It doesn't matter what time of the year it is. Applying quickly may increase your chances of getting through the hiring process.

Conclusion

Now you know the best times to apply for jobs. However, you should also know that there's no bad time to look for a new opportunity!

While understanding the cyclical nature of the hiring process can be helpful, never let that stop you from being proactive. There are plenty of jobs out there, all it takes is some commitment and patience to land one!

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No Barriers Warriors seeks Veterans with disabilities for 2023 backcountry expeditions

By Mike Smith | U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs © 2023, Reprinted with permission

No Barriers Warriors, an offshoot of the Veterans organization No Barriers USA, will open an application period to launch its 2023 program season on February 1.

In 2023, No Barriers Warriors will have several programs for Veterans with disabilities: basecamp experiences in Red Feather, Colorado, and backcountry expeditions in the northern Colorado Rockies and the Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina.

No Barriers Warrior programs help Veterans with service-connected disabilities to redefine their identity, purpose and community as they face past and present challenges. The programs run by No Barriers Warriors challenge Veterans to critically think about where they are in life, where they want to be and how to get there. The backcountry expeditions and basecamp experiences give them new tools, strategies and the drive to overcome the barriers that are holding them back, as well as a new support team that will be with them throughout the program and beyond.

The basecamp experiences are "as accessible as possible"

Each expedition or basecamp experience begins at Phase 1: two online meetings to introduce Veterans to their new teammates and a review of the basics of No Barriers Life.

Phase 2 consists of the basecamp experience or backcountry expedition. For basecamps, Veterans stay at the No Barriers mountain campus and participate in activities like hiking, rock climbing, fly-fishing, the challenge course and whitewater rafting.

"We've made the basecamp experience as accessible as possible," says Michael Smith, the program manager of No Barriers Warriors and a Veteran of the post-9/11 conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The backcountry expeditions are more physically demanding backpacking trips that cover 12 miles over three to four days. They take place in the wilderness far off the beaten path and require Veterans to push themselves and rely on their team to complete intense, multi-day backcountry missions. Finally, the Veterans can participate in a Phase 3, which teams Veterans with volunteer coaches who assist them in continuing their journey of change.

The 2023 program season features three basecamp experiences: July 6 to 12, August 1 to 5 and September 6 to 10. The Rocky Mountain Backcountry Expeditions will be held July 13 to 18 and July 24 to 29, and the Smoky Mountains Backcountry Expeditions are scheduled for September 6 to 10, September 13 to 17, September 20 to 24, September 27 to October 1, October 4 to 8 and October 11 to 15. Applications will be available on the No Barriers Warriors website beginning February 1.

Veterans and anyone else with questions can contact No Barriers Warriors through its website. You can also email Warriors@nobarriersusa.org or mike.smith@nobarriersusa.org or call 970-484-3633.

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How To Answer "What Is Your Work Style?"

By Hannah Morgan | Career Sherpa - Reprinted with permission

It's quite common to get asked "What is your work style?" in a job interview, so you need to be ready to answer it effectively.

This guide will teach you how to prepare a response that shares the way you work, while also making interviewers eager to learn more about you as a candidate.

Why This Question Gets Asked in Job Interviews

Job interviews are a chance to show that you can fit into an existing work structure. Companies already established protocols and ways of working and the preference is to hire someone who is familiar with their work style.

"What is your work style?" is a question that helps hiring managers better understand whether you would be a good addition to the team. While it sounds vague, it provides a great deal of relevant information.

To answer it effectively, you must think about your own preferences as well as what qualities you believe are needed to succeed in this role. The way you answer unveils your thought processes and approach to challenges.

Different work environments call for varying work styles. What helps you succeed in one role may not apply to another, even if the job descriptions are similar. It's about fitting into the work culture and being willing to adapt.

Hiring managers want to bring people in who are can fill a role as seamlessly as possible. How you describe your work style will impact your place in the running and shape the interviewer's perspective on your candidacy.

How to Answer "What is Your Work Style?"

Delivering a solid answer isn't as straightforward as you might think.

Before heading to your interview, it's a good idea to research the company to learn as much as you can. Then, follow these tips to create a response that leaves a great impression.

Think About How You Like to Work

Answering "What is your work style?" is all about being self-aware. Many folks think they can adopt any work style and excel in every environment. But tolerating a work style is very different from thriving in it.

To succeed at any job, you must enjoy what you do and how you work. Take a moment and be honest with yourself to reflect on past job experiences. What situations did you enjoy most? What events are memorable for all the wrong reasons?

You must figure out your individual work style and what environment allows you to do your best. For example, you might realize that you don't gravitate toward collaborative work environments, and you prefer to work alone. That's a big moment of realization that matters during your job search.

Knowing your best work environment can make all the difference. Not only will it help you answer this question and describe your work style, but it'll help you talk about the type of employee you'll be. Plus it helps you identify companies that will provide you with the best environment to be successful.

Choose Some Relevant Professional Descriptors

One great way to answer this question is to utilize professional descriptors. These power words paint a picture of your work style and give interviewers a better idea of your qualities while still allowing your answer to be concise.

Think of your ideal work style and the environment it's suited for. For example, you can say that you're "independent" or "collaborative" in reference to how you work as part of a team.

It's also a good idea to go a little further and use powerful words in your answer to describe what role you like to play in collaborative environments. Good examples include "cooperative" if you like sharing responsibilities, or "supportive" if you're a manager that values looking out for their team.

And don't forget to mention that you're adaptable! While everyone has their preferred work style, leaning into your adaptability shows your willingness to mesh with the company culture and the way everyone operates.

Connect Your Answer to the Position You're Applying For

"What is your work style?" is an interview question that provides an excellent opportunity to remind the interviewer why you're a good fit for the job. In addition to discussing what's important to you, bring up how your work style can benefit the company. Here's where doing your research comes in handy.

Knowing everything you can about the organization and role will allow you to answer this question confidently. Look at the job description, check out the company site, and view social media accounts to better understand how employees work and the business operates.

Go back to the original job listing that compelled you to apply. Pay attention to the words it uses. There's a good chance that you'll find plenty of clues that can help you shape your answer.

Your goal is to connect the dots and show how your work style complements this company. Talk about the qualities you bring to the table. Linking your answer to the job makes it easy for hiring managers to envision you in the role.

Give Some Examples

Don't stop at providing high-level descriptions of your work style. While that's a great start, nothing beats real-world examples.

Providing examples of your work style in action helps interviewers see what you're capable of, and gives them a glimpse of how you would work if hired.

Reflect on your past work experiences and give an example of a time when your work style was beneficial. This will give you an opportunity to explain why you prefer to work that way and share why that approach has been successful.

Keep Your Answer Concise

And lastly, you need to keep your answer concise and to the point.

Keep it under two minutes, and consider using the STAR method. This interview technique can help you deliver impactful answers without sounding long-winded. It's an acronym that stands for situation, task, action, and result.

Concise answers are easier to remember and show you know how to communicate. "What is your work style?" is an interview question that's just one of many you'll have to answer. By being efficient with the amount of time it takes you to respond, you'll be able to make a great impression while keeping things moving.

What Not to Say When Giving Your Answer

There are many ways to leave a good impression with your response. However, you can also say the wrong thing, making your answer work against you.

Here are common mistakes you must avoid.

Overemphasizing Your Preferences

Everyone has a work style they like. And while understanding your preferences is important, you should always emphasize your adaptability.

No hiring manager wants to bring someone into the company who's too inflexible to adapt to a new work environment. You'll be hard-pressed to find a job that meets your ideal work style to a tee, so it's best to express your willingness to adapt.

This is especially true if you prefer to work solo. You can guarantee that every job you apply for will have some level of collaborative work. Being dead set on solitary work environments is usually a red flag for hiring managers.

Discussing your flexibility shows interviewers you're open to trying something new and can commit to making it work.

Being Too Vague

When talking about your preferred work style, you shouldn't be too vague. Rattling off general working conditions will fall flat without an example. This won't provide the information the interviewer is looking for, and will often leave them more puzzled about your potential than before.

Furthermore, this can also show a lack of preparation or self-awareness. If you can't answer this question, it shows that you might not be serious about getting the job!

Cliches

Avoid overused cliches as much as possible. "What is your work style?" isn't about saying something the interviewer wants to hear. It's about being honest while making yourself look like the ideal candidate.

Using too many cliches will work against you. It's fine to use some powerful descriptors like we mentioned earlier, but you must provide examples to back them up.

Example Answers

Everyone's response to this question is unique, and your approach depends on your true work style and experiences. However, it's always useful to get some inspiration to help you develop your answer.

These examples will help you figure out how to describe your work style in a way that impresses the interviewer.

Example 1

In our first example answer, we have a candidate interviewing for a marketing firm role. They have plenty of work experience and leverage their years in the industry to deliver a solid response. The candidate highlights their flexibility and provides great examples of that work style in action.

"I would describe my work style as flexible. It's something that I pride myself on. I don't mind working independently, but I also understand that collaboration is a substantial aspect of our industry.

Through my many years in marketing, I've worked on teams with varying dynamics. In my last job, I collaborated with a team of 16 people. But in the position I held before that, I predominantly worked alone and would contribute to projects as needed.

My ability to adapt has made a significant difference in my career. One example that comes to mind is a complex project I worked on for one of my former firm's biggest clients. It had many unexpected challenges and last-minute changes.

That resulted in constant shifts in team priorities. Despite the chaos, I adapted, reached out to colleagues with the skills necessary to assist, and delivered a successful final product. I enjoy working in environments that require flexibility, and I'm eager to put those skills to the test here."

Example 2

Our second example focuses on reliability. This is a work style that can be hit or miss to talk about during an interview. In some cases, it can come off as cliche or inauthentic.

However, this candidate delivers a strong answer that shows the interviewer why reliability in an employee is so important.

"The best way I can describe my workstyle is reliable. Reliability is something I value in my career. I've only missed a few work days in the last five years.

I understand that consistency and reliability are key, whether working independently or as part of a team. It requires you to pull your weight and constantly communicate with your team. That's something I believe is critical to success, and I always strive to be a reliable asset in any workplace situation.

In my previous job, we had an issue with deliverables that required immediate attention. Many project-critical files were lost in transit, making the deliverables incomplete. Fortunately, I save every version of a project as it inches toward completion.

I used those older versions to correct the issue and get the deliverables to our client. That's the level of reliability that I enjoy providing at work, and I'm excited to do that here for [COMPANY]."

Example 3

Our final example answer focuses on the collaborative side of their workplace style. However, they express their ability to adapt. This works because it doesn't overemphasize one type of culture and shows that the candidate is ready to tackle any challenge.

"My work style is usually collaborative, which is something that many people are surprised to hear given how I've operated the last several years. My last position was 100 percent remote. While it seems like the antithesis of direct collaboration, that experience taught me many valuable skills.

It showed me how to communicate effectively with others despite physical and cultural differences. I'm a great written communicator and deeply understand asynchronous communication.

That's something that also benefits me when I get to work with people in person. For example, my last employer asked me to visit the head office to help the team expand the remote operations. It was a great experience, and I collaborated with people who would communicate with other remote employees regularly.

I showed them my communication techniques and many of the strategies I employ ended up becoming the standard for remote and hybrid employees. I strongly believe that good communication translates well to any environment and will become an asset for me at this organization."

Conclusion

"What is your work style?" is an interview question that you need to be ready for. Not only is it a common question to be asked, but the way you answer will have a significant impact on your chance of getting hired.

Follow our recommendations, spend some time practicing your answer, and you'll shine when this question gets asked on the big day.

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Login.gov Provides Access to VA Digital Products, Services

By VA Office | U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs © 2023, Reprinted with permission

Login.gov is an easy-to-use, U.S. federal government-provided credential that is built with modern security standards. It offers one account that provides access to VA digital products and services, as well as access to other government agencies. The first time you access products or services at VA that require a higher level of assurance, you may be asked to verify your identity through Login.gov. You can use your existing Login.gov account.

Login.gov, which can be used to sign in to VA.gov, My HealtheVet, VA/DoD eBenefits, and the VA flagship mobile app, among other VA services, offers a slew of other benefits. For instance, it can be used to securely sign in when you apply for federal jobs on USAJOBS. One can also access the Trusted Traveler Programs at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and apply for small business loans and disaster assistance at the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Plus, Login.gov support includes an online Help Center with FAQs and step-by-step instructions providing guidance and illustration, as well as a Help ticket submission form to explain your inquiry and receive a response. A toll-free phone number is available for human interaction and support. Login.gov also allows you to self-manage by changing your phone number, password and email address, along with your multifactor authentication method.

Multifactor authentication is an extra layer of protection to help VA make sure it's you who's trying to access your account, not a hacker.

How to create a Login.gov account

Creating a Login.gov account is easy:

  • Go to VA.gov, select Sign In and choose to create a Login.gov account.
  • Enter and confirm access to your unique email address.
  • Each time you sign into a VA website or app, you'll use the multifactor identification method that you selected to verify you're you. You can change the multifactor method and choose the one that's right for you. The most common method is to receive a security code by text message, phone call or through another option that you choose. (This method cannot be used by Veterans in unsupported locations.)
  • Enter the security code to access your account.
  • To verify one's identity, a user must provide personal information and upload a photo of his/her government-issued ID or driver's license.

Visit Login.gov to learn more about what's needed to create an account. The Login.gov help section provides additional support if needed. You can use Login.gov or continue using other sign-in options, such as My HealtheVet, DS Logon or ID.me.

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