If you are actively on the job hunt or even simply scrolling down your LinkedIn, chances are you’ve probably seen a few people talking about the “September Surge.” During this time, it is reported that companies are on hiring sprees. You may be interested in getting your next gig during this year’s surge, but how exactly do you go about it? 21Ninety and Cinneah El-Amin are here to help.

El-Amin is the founder of Flynanced, an award-winning, community-led platform that empowers ambitious professionals to effortlessly build wealth by earning more in their 9-5 careers without shame. 21Ninety sat down with the self-proclaimed “9-5 hottie” to get all the details on what this surge is and how you can get ahead this month!

Get That Job, Sis!

21Ninety: Tell us all about the September Surge, what exactly is it?

Cinneah El-Amin: “September Surge” was coined to describe the increase in open job applications that typically emerge between Labor Day and Halloween. This surge typically happens due to a number of factors, including:

  1. Hiring managers and recruiters return from vacation. Many hiring managers take vacation time in July and August, so they are not actively hiring during that month. However, they typically return from vacation in September and are ready to start filling open positions.
  2. Budgets for hiring are renewed. Many companies’ budgets for hiring are renewed in September, meaning that they have more money to spend on hiring new employees to close out the year.
  3. The start of the new fiscal year. For some companies, the new fiscal year starts in September. This is a time when they often make changes to their workforce, like hiring new employees.

September Surge is most pronounced in the tech industry, but it can also be seen in other industries like financial services, healthcare, consulting, and others. So if you are looking for a job, September is one of the best times of the year to start or ramp up your job search.

21N: How stiff is the competition to get a job amid the surge?

CE: There’s real data to suggest that in general, companies are actually holding on to more of their employees and the U.S. labor market is relatively healthy. The August 2023 jobs report that came out of President Biden’s office coupled with data slowing consistent declines in U.S. workers requesting unemployment benefits are considered proxies that layoffs are happening at fewer rates than they did at the beginning of the year.

I don’t think there’s a correlation between layoffs we saw this year and competition to get hired, but anecdotally, members of my Flynanced community have lamented to me that they feel it’s more difficult than ever to get hired. But again, this is all personal antedotes, not based on data. I can even see among my personal network on sites like LinkedIn that there are many more professionals posting for open roles than even a few months ago. 

I think more than ever, it’s important for all job seekers to ensure that they are telling a strong, cohesive story when they apply to jobs that really highlight their transferable skills and position them as top candidates; that’s how you get hired. 

Standing Out Amid the “September Surge”

21N: When it comes to resumes, what can make someone stand out during this time specifically?

CE: In general, job seekers who want to be successful during September Surge need to be armed with a resume that is ATS or Applicant Tracking System friendly. Otherwise they risk the chance of being rejected, even if they have all the right experience. Here’s what I mean:

1. You must use relevant keywords and functional skills that relate to the job throughout your resume. Focus on the keywords and functional skills you see throughout the job descriptions and make sure your resume includes them.

2. Use AI tools like ResumeWorded and JobScan to test the strength of your resume before you apply – these sites can give you predictions on how keyword-rich your resume may be compared to the jobs you’re seeking.

3. Get comfortable following up. Use sites like LinkedIn to find the recruiters, sourcers, or talent acquisition managers at the companies you’ve applied to and reach out. A personalized message that calls out your top skills, can sometimes make all the difference in helping you stand out. 

21N: Are there any other tips you may have for Black women specifically to be able to land that job they’re looking for?

CE: In general, there are too many brilliant and overqualified Black women who are discrediting themselves in their job search because they haven’t had that push to remind them what they’re worth. I’m here to say: You’re worth so much more, sis. You’re worth high, 6 figure salaries and fully remote benefits. You’re worth 6 figure equity packages, so I want to see more Black women do the following:

1. Apply to jobs where you’re only 50% qualified – STOP focusing on jobs where you meet 100% of the requirements.. you’re overqualified! 

2. Apply to MORE jobs – STOP waiting for that dream job to come around and put your resume out there to get more practice and increase your chances of getting an offer

3. Speak to your non-corporate experiences in your resume and interviews – STOP thinking your entrepreneurial and side-biz experiences aren’t relevant when they in fact are! 

4. Don’t let fear keep you from making the money you want. Be audacious knowing that you actually have the skills that recruiters are looking for!