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When to Start Looking for Your Post-College Job

09.03.22

It’s difficult to know when you should start looking for your post-college job. You’re unavailable to begin working immediately, but, ideally, you want something lined up for soon after you finish college. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this problem: it depends on a variety of factors, including your industry and the kind of job you want. You may be able to wait until spring of your senior year to start applying, or it could be necessary to start reaching out to companies much sooner. Here are some considerations to help you make the right decision.

Jobs with Training Programs

You’ll need to apply early if the job you want requires you to complete a competitive training program. Recruitment for these kinds of jobs often starts in September, but candidates don’t typically receive offers until at least November. This includes jobs in the financial sector, particularly in consulting and accounting.

Internships Leading to Employment

Some organizations recruit many of their new employees through internship programs. In particular, positions in banking and business management tend to start out with internships, with the top students being offered employment when they graduate. If this is likely to be the case for the kind of job you want, you should apply for internships that you can take over the summer of your junior year.

Opportunities Available Later in the Year

Some companies don’t start the recruitment process until the spring or later. This includes small businesses that lack training programs as well as companies in sectors like advertising, communication, publishing, and the arts. Furthermore, assistant positions often open as they become available, particularly for editorial, human resources, gallery, and broker’s assistants.

Finally, many other jobs only open in the spring after companies have finished internal promotions and determined their need for additional employees.

Unlisted Jobs

It’s also possible to apply for jobs that are unadvertised by reaching out to companies you’d like to work for. You should do this as early as possible, sending a resume and cover letter detailing your relevant experience and explaining what kind of position you’re interested in. Ask when interviews will begin for suitable jobs. If you receive a reply that interviews are several months away, it’s a good idea to send another email nearer the time to remind the company that you’re still interested.

Including Your College Education on Your Resume

In all the above situations, you’ll be using a qualification you haven’t yet earned to land the job. For this reason, it’s important to include your college education on your resume. All you need to do is include the name of the institution, the type of degree you’re earning, your major, and your expected graduation date. You can even include the words “expected graduation” after the date to make it extra clear that you’re still in college.

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