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Happy New Year! If one of your resolutions for 2016 is to find a new job, now is a great time to get started on your job search: January is a robust hiring month. Read on to see why this is the case, and what you can do to boost your chances of finding a job in 2016.

Hiring process

For companies with more than a handful of employees, the hiring process will typically involve several people. However, with many people taking holiday vacations near the end of the year, it can be difficult to coordinate the schedules of everyone involved. If the necessary decision-makers aren’t in the office, or are focused on year-end tasks, hiring just isn’t likely to happen. But once everyone is back in the office consistently, and focusing on the year ahead, hiring becomes a priority again.

Another factor to consider, depending on your industry and career level, is that many companies time their hiring practices to coincide with college graduations. CNN quoted Pamela Thompson, CEO of the American Organization of Nurse Executives, as saying “It is natural to expect hospitals to increase recruitment activities around May and January because of the timing of graduation dates at nursing and medical schools.” (And don’t forget physician assistant schools.)

Budgets and timing

At the end of the year, budgets can be squeezed, leaving little room for bringing additional people on board. But when December ends, January kicks off a new calendar year and new quarter—which mean it’s likelier that there’s room in a company’s budget for hiring. That budget allocation can play a huge role in hiring practices, according to recruiter Jennifer Hill, who says “January is the best time for somebody to look for a position.” Hiring also sees a boost in January from companies who have set clear goals, and need new employees in order to reach them.

For industries with set busy times, hiring practices can be seasonal. If you’re a tax or accounting specialist, now is the perfect time to find a new job, as many companies will be looking to add staff in advance of the annual April 15 tax deadline. Keep peak seasons in mind when conducting your job search.

Job search preparation

If you’re a recent college graduate, make sure your resume and LinkedIn profile are up-to-date, and that you’re ready to tailor your resume for each application. If you have a career management document, you’re ahead of the game—and the start of the year is the perfect time to update it. Don’t have one? Now is the time to create one. If you graduated in last spring, update your resume with what you have been doing since (such as volunteer work or adding new skills)—because now you’re competing with people whose degrees are fresher than yours.

The length of the hiring process can vary based on a variety of factors. When researching potential employers, you can sometimes get a sense of how long a company’s hiring process can take by looking up notes about their interview process on Glassdoor. Also remember that, once you reach the interview stage of a job search, cultural fit can be just as important—if not more important—than qualifications. So instead of sending out as many applications as you possibly can, do your research, take your time, and send individual resumes and cover letters targeted toward specific positions at companies where you think you’d be a great fit. When it comes to finding a job, quality will serve you better than quantity.

Want to see how well your resume aligns with a particular job? Enter the text of your resume and the text of the job description into Jobscan’s resume analysis tool for a free instant analysis and feedback.

Best of luck in 2016!

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