It’s a question that’s been debated for years: when is the right time to start that search for a college graduate job? It is a question that many students ask too late in their final year of school. One of the best application tips is to start your search six to nine months before graduation, or even earlier in some cases if the field is particularly competitive. That may sound too early but many recruiters start scouting colleges early in the fall, looking for the best and the brightest. Your goal should be to stand out as one of those select few.
Get a Head Start on the Competition
This is the main reason to start applying for those entry-level jobs before other graduates. It puts you ahead of the rest of the pack. Early applications generally get more attention that those turned in later in the time period. Even if you don’t hear back from the company or get rejected, you know much earlier than others and won’t waste valuable time and energy on a job that may be beyond your reach.
It Helps You Research What Skills Employers Need
When you start searching early, you will develop a better understanding of the kinds of skills employers in your chosen career field want. If your resume does not demonstrate these skills, you still have several months before graduation to flesh out your resume by developing those skills. It also gives you time to ask hiring directors and current employees questions about what would potentially make you a stronger candidate.
Demonstrates Several Soft Skills That Employers Want
Getting your foot in the door before graduation demonstrates key skills that employers look for when recruiting for entry-level jobs. These skills include initiative, creative thinking, and self-motivation. Show potential future employers that you are enthusiastic to work by getting your application in early.
More Time to Target the Right Companies
Interview advice almost always includes the recommendation to “research the company.” Starting early gives you months to research and target the best employers for your skills. You might develop a list of 10 companies and approach each one to see what entry-level jobs will be opening around graduation, or you may send your resume and a letter outlining your enthusiasm for their company requesting that you be considered for whatever jobs will be available after graduation. There is no right or wrong, but taking the time to research the companies with jobs available or the companies you’d like to work at can go a long way towards helping you get hired.
There are plenty of things you can do in the months before you graduate. Start early and give yourself the best possible chance of being first in line for that perfect college graduate job!