Does Timing Matter in a Travel Job Search?

March 27, 2023


Megan Bebout

Does Timing MatterYou’ve heard the saying, “Timing is everything.” When it comes to finding your healthcare travel job, is what they say true?

When it comes to your next travel career move, it’s important to consider the timing of the assignment. Think about how long of a contract you want, what season it is, and when is the best time to apply. With your ducks in a row, you’ll be well-prepared in advance for the transition into a new travel job. 

Does Timing Matter in a Travel Job Search?



When you should start your travel job search

So, when should you start your travel job search? It varies based on your division and specialty, but in general, the golden number to commence your search tends to be six weeks before you want to start your next assignment. For example, if you’re set on being at your new healthcare job on November 1, begin the application process no later than September 20, and maybe even sooner to be on the safe side.

More broadly, it can take anywhere from one-to-five weeks to go from applying, to the job interview, to actually starting a travel job. This wait time can depend on other factors, but prepare for something in that timeframe.

Flexibility can get you far

Of course, what's available depends on what you're looking for. If you have a specific location, pay rate, facility, or agency in mind, search through more job postings before you start applying to the positions that match your preferences those positions may not have the start date you'd prefer, which may impact your job security.

If you're willing to be flexible, the travel job postings you discover are much more likely to be available in your ideal timeframe. Some new grad nurses and other new grads are under the impression that their skills, experience, and healthcare travel resume will eliminate any waiting for jobs when they are just getting into traveling.

Regardless of your knowledge, cover letter, residency program, or previous position, new nurses to the field should keep in mind that a competitive market and variable health needs impacts the job availability. The more particular you are, the more likely you are to miss assignments with quick turnarounds.

Research what your specialty means for travel nursing jobs

After you've finished your last semester of graduate school, started applying for nursing jobs, and found a niche in one of your favorite nursing positions, you've put a lot of practice into your chosen profession. At this point, you could have a pretty good idea of how in-demand your nursing specialty is.

Many employers are looking for similar skills from travel nurses as they are from many nurses in permanent positions, although the top priority jobs to fill may depend on additional factors for travel nurses. Many hospitals are looking to interview and hire travel nurses with the following specialties:

This doesn't mean you're out of luck if you've specialized in another area! When less common nursing positions open up, you may have less competition, depending on the hospital or employer.

Specific factors to consider when applying for travel jobs

The best time to start the search for your travel assignment depends on what matters to you as a professional traveler. If you aren’t sure, prepare by asking yourself these questions:

  • Is it important to be home with family during the holidays?
  • Do I care about the climate of the location?
  • Is time off between assignments a priority?

Decide which holidays matter most to you

When it comes to working during the holidays, make sure you’re well-informed of the expectations and requirements of the healthcare facility. For example, holidays may be defined differently depending on where you are. While one hospital may consider 7 A.M. to 7 P.M. on Christmas Day a holiday, another may start the holiday at 7 A.M. on Christmas Day and end at 7 A.M. the next day. Don't be afraid to ask about it during your interview.

Depending on what your life looks like at the time, you may not always have the option to completely avoid assignments during the holidays, so preparing to work around your schedule is essential in any healthcare position.

A season for every healthcare traveler

Another thing to take into consideration is the season. Landing a job in March may be easier, less time-consuming, and less stressful than if you were to search for a travel job in January. Fun fact: January happens to be the busiest time of the year for the healthcare travel industry, although the slowest time of year, July, can also be a challenge when it comes to the market.

Because of the increased need, assignments through the winter months (October through January) can be offered weeks or months ahead of time. If you are hoping for something specific in this timeframe, it's worth it to ask about options ahead of time.

The weather can also play a big part in the timing of your job search. If you’re a traveler who prefers to stay in warmer areas during winter and cooler places in the summer, be aware of the best time to make the switch from one location to another. Of course, start dates will vary, but aim to be in your travel contract somewhere warm from November until it's completed in March. Then, if that summer sun becomes too much, retreat to a cooler climate around May until September.

Taking time for yourself

If you’re a fan of time off in between assignments, commencing your healthcare job search will depend on how long you want to take off. Regardless if you’re taking a week or a month for some dedicated “you” time, allow yourself a generous grace period to get back in your groove.

You know that time is precious, and that includes speed to market. As the competition for quality healthcare workers grows, your speed to market becomes significantly more important to land your ideal travel placement.



Fusion Medical Staffing will help you narrow down the process, compare benefits, and apply for your dream job. Eventually, the time will come to transition to a new health care assignment and when it does, we'll help get you where you’re supposed to go, right on time.