Welcome to College Confidential!

The leading college-bound community on the web

Sign Up For Free

Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community discussions, and more.

Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)

As a CC member, you can:

  • Reply to threads, and start your own.
  • Post reviews of your campus visits.
  • Find hundreds of pages of informative articles.
  • Search from over 3 million scholarships.
Please take a moment to read our updated TOS, Privacy Policy, and Forum Rules.

How long before graduation should the job hunt start?

PseudonymPseudonym Registered User Posts: 649 Member
edited December 2008 in Parent Cafe
Sorry if this doesn't belong here; the careers forum doesn't get much traffic so I figured I'd try to get the parents' collected wisdom :)

I'm finishing undergrad May 2009, and starting to get pretty antsy about making sure I'm employed after graduation, but I can't figure out when to start pounding the pavement and sending out resumes. On the one hand, it seems like it would never be too early to start trying, but on the other I feel ridiculous applying for current job openings that almost surely won't still be open by the time I can actually take them. I don't want to seem like I'm spamming potential employers! Obviously if there's a specific start date I can't do I won't apply, but if I find a listing for my dream job now that doesn't have a specific start date, should I try for it?

My degree is going to be in biology and linguistics, but I'm mostly looking at case-management, intake, and other entry-level jobs at healthcare focused companies and orgs. A lot of them would prefer BSW or MSWs, but I had a position running triage-intake and assisting with programs at a developmental disabilities agency, so I've been told I'm decently qualified.

My current strategy is that since I'm also looking for part time jobs and internships for right now/the spring, if I'm applying to an immediate part time opening somewhere I'd also like to work after graduation, I include a line about that in my cover letter. Does that make sense? When should my job search go into high gear?
Post edited by Pseudonym on

Replies to: How long before graduation should the job hunt start?

  • BCEagle91BCEagle91 Registered User Posts: 22,762 Senior Member
    You should start with your career center. They should help you to put together a resume that's machine readable and should be able to get it into hiring databases so that recruiters looking for people after graduation can run queries to get lists of people that will be ready by next summer. Your career center should also be able to tell you when they are holding career fairs for those in your major.
  • maritemarite Registered User Posts: 21,586 Senior Member
    A lot of seniors have been attending career fairs since October, so you should go to your career center asap. Work with the staff to produce a good resume, learn the schedule for career fairs and recruiting events and even interview tips. Don't wait.
  • PseudonymPseudonym Registered User Posts: 649 Member
    Okay, to clarify: I haven't just been sitting on my butt, and I'm not out of the loop or anything. I've been to the career center, know when career fairs and employer visits are happening, and my resume is updated and polished. I even have several different versions of my resume that emphasize different skill-sets depending on the position it's for, and the last time I saw someone at the career center they didn't have any changes to suggest. I went to the fall career fairs and dropped off some resumes, but the focus was much more on people graduating in December, so it was pretty clear that for the fields I'm looking at, that was too early.

    So it's not a question of when I should start doing anything. I'm asking whether it would seem ridiculous to apply for current full-time openings when I don't graduate until May, and what the best way is to keep myself at the top of the pile... I know that at the agency where I used to work, it was pretty easy for the HR person to lose track of a resume she picked up at a career fair or that someone faxed over cold, so it seems like the timing can be pretty important.
  • PizzagirlPizzagirl Registered User Posts: 40,488 Senior Member
    I don't think it's ridiculous at all. Back in the old days, I remember going on interviews in November / December of my junior year, and I had my job offer in late January for a mid-June graduation. I remember the job offer day since it was the day of the Challenger explosion :-(.
  • samiamysamiamy Registered User Posts: 1,710 Senior Member
    A friends son to graduate in May from BC has had been on many interviews since September, has a few offers on the table.
  • jmmomjmmom Registered User Posts: 9,084 Senior Member
    It's possible that your field doesn't work quite like some others, where you can go to the websites of major companies and organizations, click on "Careers" (or some similar option) and find information on applying for entry level positions - ones that are targeted toward this year's college graduates and not immediate openings.

    These types of sites exist in many corporations and also government agencies. So you may find some relevant to your own search.

    Even if not, I think you have a good start, based on what you have done. Now you just need to realize that you can contact potential employers to talk about openings that will be relevant to your time frame. You can seek out hiring managers to meet with, or you can contact people at other functions and levels in the organization for informational interviews. Many of them will be happy to meet 2009 grads, even though they wouldn't be hiring you for an immediate opening.

    I do think you should be starting this now. But there is no set time. My son is in a field where offers have already been made; yet there are still offers to be made. My nephew didn't start his job search until the end of the summer *after* he graduated. Maybe not a great plan, and it made his job search tenser and more difficult, but he did secure a job about a month ago.

    Your Career Services office may have guidance on informational interviews and how best to do them and use them. If not, you can google the term and find great information. I'm sure you already know that you can use your school's alumni network to find alums in organizations and jobs of interest to you and they should be high on your list of people to contact, imo.

    Good luck.
  • jmmomjmmom Registered User Posts: 9,084 Senior Member
    In terms of keeping contact with organizations you may submit resumes to now... some will be looking now to hire 2009 grads. For any where that is not the case, write a thank-you note or email after any interview. In that communication, let them know that you will contact them as it gets closer to your graduation date; and ask them what the best time would be to do that for June hiring (or whatever month you're focused on).

    Then, if you have spent the intervening time doing some informational interviews, you may have found additional contacts at a given organization and/or you will have new topics to discuss at an interview.

    And, yes, I think your approach to "combining" the current internship/long term job search - with an extra line in your cover letter works fine... as one part of your search strategy.
  • MyLBMyLB Registered User Posts: 1,102 Senior Member
    As a 20+-year veteran of the federal government, I'd just throw in that if there are any possibilities in the government for you (look here: USAJOBS - The Federal Government's Official Jobs Site), it's not at all too early. Hiring in the federal government is mind-numbingly slow and sometimes is so tedious that an office that finds a good candidate is very willing to lock you in knowing that you won't be able to start til May just to avoid having to go through the process again. When our office was looking to hire May graduates, we were seriously searching in Jan-Feb.
  • maritemarite Registered User Posts: 21,586 Senior Member
    your field may be different, but as with other posters, I know some college seniors who already have job offers (in fact, some had job offers after their post-junior year summer internships). In other cases, companies want you to start pronto. My H was asked to start practically the Monday after the job offer came in on the Friday! So I would start looking right away but realize that some firms wait until later to hire.
  • Delicate ArchDelicate Arch Registered User Posts: 192 Junior Member
    I advise my students to start working with Career Service early (at least sophomore year). It sounds like you have done this. Having a resume is only the "price of entry" to the job market. It sure won't get you a job. You should be setting up an internship either for one of the semesters when you also have classes (make it a lighter load semester) or right now for the summer 2009. The internship is going to be more important than a paying summer job. You should also be doing about 1 "information interview" per month (2 if you have time).

    Career services generally has a list of alums who are now out working. Make arrangements to call them at their convenience and just ask about how they got their jobs and any other advice they might have. You should only ask for 15 minutes of their time. DO NOT ASK FOR A JOB. All you are trying to do is to expand you view of the work world. there might be all sorts of jobs and all sorts of career paths with you degree that you never even thought of. Most people are OK to talk about what they have done, and everyone wants to give you advice!

    So, get a non-paying internship or if you are lucky (unlikely this year!) a paying one for this summer. Starting doing information interviews and building a network (or course write to them afterward thanking them for their time, etc.).
  • 2331clk2331clk Registered User Posts: 1,656 Senior Member
    It sounds like you're in good shape with the different versions of your resume. I can't imagine it's too early to send them out. Timing is important, but you might as well err on the early side. You can't worry about one HR person you know misfiling a resume. As a point of reference my son had his job late Sept of his senior year...at the firm he'd interned the previous summer. But this was 3 years ago when things were humming.

    I have to agree ^^ that's probably the best path to employment...through internship. Some internships run through a semester. Is that a possibility for next semester, especially if you're done most of your required courses?
  • Mr PayneMr Payne Registered User Posts: 8,850 Senior Member
    You need to be out looking for jobs *now*. In this environment I would fully expect you to have to send out at least ~30 resumes to any position you might be remotely qualified in. Do not wait for career fairs.
  • Columbia_StudentColumbia_Student Registered User Posts: 5,046 Senior Member
    I think Fall of Senior year is the time to start looking for job. Even looking for internships for Freshman, Sophomore, Junior is in the fall. I've scouted D's college internship list and some positions you have to apply by Dec 31.
  • PseudonymPseudonym Registered User Posts: 649 Member
    Thanks for the advice, everyone. I know many people have offers already, but it seems to be a very field-dependent thing, and I've heard even some companies that would normally be doing offers earlier are holding out to see where the recession takes us... but I guess it's still worth a try.

    I really like the informational interviews idea, so thanks to everyone who suggested that! I'll probably try to set some of those up for winter break.

    I am applying to some internships for the spring in hopes of a) getting my foot in the door, and b) knowing what I'm getting into, so we'll see... the biggest problem right now is that I don't have a car and the public transportation in my area is so-so at best. With a paid part-time job I might be able to afford a car, but with a paid part-time job I probably won't have time for a substantial internship. Makes for a nice catch-22!
  • maritemarite Registered User Posts: 21,586 Senior Member
    It depends where you live. My S had an internship about 25 miles away. He was able to "carpool" sharing gas and toll fees. On certain days, he just had to take the train, subway and bus home--a two hour process. But he really enjoyed the internship and he was well paid. He lined up the internship in February or March.
This discussion has been closed.