It is tradition at new year to make resolutions and "turn over a new leaf", to make plans and set yourself goals to achieve by the end of the year. If you are reading this then there is a good chance that one of those goals is to obtain a graduate job. A good idea and a boost to the morale, but cynics might state that there's no difference in the job market from yesteryear's. Well, it's nice to know that in this case, they'd be wrong.

In the graduate recruitment industry January sees a rise of employment as well as a rise in the amount of applications. The increase in applications is obviously because of the new-year-new-chapter mentality but what explains the pattern of graduate recruiters opening graduate job positions? Well like any market one part actively changes to suit the passive counterpart. In other words, graduate employers know that this is a hot time for recruiting graduates and therefore plan their recruitment schedule around it.

"So the cynics are right," I can hear you saying, "there's no change at all." This is wrong for two reasons.

With any change in a market, be it a rise or a fall, there is fluctuation. Nothing ever balances out exactly how it was before the rise or fall. This can mean that things get worse (in this case that would mean there being more applicants per job). However, statistics show that over the past two years, which were further into the depths of the recession than we are now, the proportion of jobs-to-applicants has risen in January.

The reasons for this leaning towards a more fortunate set of circumstances is a matter of debate. One of the possible reasons is that various companies new business year occurs - new budgets are set and reimbursed and sometimes increased. It allows companies to exercise a bit more freedom at the beginning of the year and to gain the extra talent base the require to grow as a business.

The bottom line is listen to those optimistic thoughts because they aren't just well wishing! 2011 will be the year you land your first graduate job !