When To Start Looking For a Job for College Seniors

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How early in your senior year should you start applying for jobs for after graduation? Prospective graduates often wonder when they should begin applying for jobs since they won't be available to start work until after graduation. 

Recruiting windows for college seniors will vary greatly by employment sector. So, the answer is that it depends on the type of job you are applying for - and it's never too late even if you haven't started your job search early.

Some students will elect to wait until the spring of senior year to get serious, while others will begin planning as early as sophomore year.

Employers With Early Deadlines

Many organizations with competitive training programs will begin recruiting early in the fall and start making offers as early as late November. Industries like investment banking, consulting and accounting are well known as early recruiters. Investment banks now recruit very heavily from their own summer internship programs so juniors should start applying for these opportunities early in their junior year.

Hiring managers from these fields often begin recruiting early because there are multiple rounds of interviews and testing to complete. Additionally, those typically interested in banking, consulting, and other business management roles are usually involved in a business track with internships or development programs, making it easy for companies to recruit already interested students.

Employers Recruiting Later in the Year

Seniors who start late shouldn't give up hope since there are still many opportunities available during the spring semester. Smaller companies which don't have training programs tend to recruit later in the year. So do employers in fields like broadcast communications, advertising, public relations, social media, the arts, and publishing.

Some employees also prefer to wait until the Spring to hire recent graduates, after promoting current employees internally and properly assessing the company need.

In addition, many graduates start out in support positions such as trading assistant, human resources assistant, editorial assistant, gallery assistant and broker's assistant which are filled as vacancies occur throughout the year. These support positions usually do not surround a fiscal year or busy season based on the trade, so these vacancies are great starting points for students year round.

Start as Early as Possible

The best advice is to start your job search soon as possible and invest as much time and energy in your personal campaign as you can if you are committed to finding a job by graduation. Since most graduates find jobs outside of their college's formal recruiting program through networking strategies, which can take time, it makes sense to start as early as the summer before senior year.

Many students worry about finding the "perfect job," and can find themselves wasting time worrying. If you start early, you will have plenty of time to review job descriptions, understand company missions, and get a better understanding of what you want for your first post-graduate role.

Companies today are working to make their entry level roles seem enticing, and many will offer the chance for personal growth both vertically and laterally. However, you can still find a great opportunity late in the game, even if you have not quite decided what you want to do for the rest of your life. Depending on your interest, for example, you may get hired by a company as a part-time Executive Assistant, but could move to a full-time Human Resources Specialist role after an initial probation period.

Applying for Unadvertised Jobs

When reaching out to employers that haven't yet advertised a job, you can send a resume and cover letter indicating your interest in an entry level job. When you follow up, ask when they might be scheduling interviews for their entry level jobs.

If the interviewing period is several months away, you can always send an updated communication at that point.

It's always better to be early than it is to miss a deadline. Introducing yourself early is a networking strategy that can demonstrate your interest, tenacity, and determination to be considered for potential new employment.

How to List Your Degree on Your Resume

If you are wondering how to list your degree on your resume if you haven't finished your program yet, you have a couple of options.

It is acceptable to simply list the month and year of your expected graduation next to your degree and the date:

Bachelor of Arts, Business Administration
Sampson College, Sarasota, NY, May 2017

Employers know that you won't be formally graduating until the graduation date on your resume.

Another option is to say:

Expected Graduation May 2017

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