Just applied for a job and they said "Must be available to start within the month".

Does that mean by the end of month? In this case August 30th? Or does it mean 30 days from now, meaning September 17th? And would this be different from "within a month"?

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    A complication is that regardless of what the "correct" meaning might be, the person who wrote the expression might have the other meaning in mind. There's no definitive solution to such ambiguity other than to contact them and ask. In some recruitment situations, making contact can also be useful in terms of making your name known to the recruiter. Every bit helps :-) Aug 18, 2018 at 2:43
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    "August 30th" - did you mean 31st? Aug 18, 2018 at 13:46
  • I just realized July and August are the only two months that are adjacent and have 31 days... Aug 20, 2018 at 3:29
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    @JesseMartinez December & January are adjacent in time (even if in different years) and both have 31 days.
    – TrevorD
    Aug 21, 2018 at 22:37

1 Answer 1


To my ears "within the month" means during the current month, that is by the end of August. "Within a month" gives you a full month from now, so if it is the 17th August today, you must start by 17th September.

It is a completely different question as to what the potential employer thought they meant: people are not always as precise as the language they use; it is best to ask for clarification.

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    And "within the next month" could mean the same as "within a month" or it could mean "by the end of September".
    – user184130
    Aug 17, 2018 at 23:23
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    @JamesRandom You are right that these terms are ambiguous. Why don't they just say "must be available to start by [date]"?
    – JeremyC
    Aug 17, 2018 at 23:26
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    Who knows. Perhaps they aren't interested in the actual start date, but want people who only have to give one month (or less) notice from their current job.
    – user184130
    Aug 17, 2018 at 23:28
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    @JeremyC it's easily possible that the job posting will be active on sites for 2 - 3 weeks or longer; after it's within 2 weeks of a stated date people who'd have to give notice would skip right over it and then they would just hear from the currently unemployed. A hard start date is less likely (if they had one they would say it to your point) than trying to communicate general no-games urgency, which the OP phrasing does accurately.
    – user662852
    Aug 17, 2018 at 23:38
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    @RossMillikan Would you assume that's what they meant if the job listing was posted on the 29th of the month?
    – Barmar
    Aug 18, 2018 at 16:19

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