Wednesday, June 22, 2011

When to Start a Job Hunt

Undergraduate Job Offers by RegionImage via Wikipedia
Job hunting sites are filled with disheartening tales of well-educated folks who had to look for a job for over a year. This makes it seem like seniors should look for jobs alongside of finishing their final year. While this may be necessary in some cases, there are a few flaws in logic with the plan.

For one, not everyone has time for the job hunt before graduation. It is said that job hunting should be a full-time job, and with a part-time job, classes, sleep and eating, it isn't possible to cram anything else into the schedule. While senior year has the reputation of being the easiest year because that's what students try to make it, that isn't always the truth. Capstone can kill us, and its when we're forced to take those classes we've put off for four years. In fact, job hunting distracted me from my school work more than anything.

Job hunting before you can accept an offer is not really practical. If there are immediate openings, they will be filled by the person who can accept the job now, not a year from now. Meanwhile, the company isn't going to hold on to your application for much longer than six months. You will just end up reapplying.

At the beginning of senior year your resume isn't as good as it could be a year from now. I took most organization leadership positions during my senior year, and added another year of work experience.

Finally, in my opinion, if you have to look for a job for a whole year, you're doing something wrong and you need to change your methods. It's the same reason why I don't think job hunting should be a full-time job. If you are spending that much time, I think that's a sign that you need to take a break and change something. Build experience through a part-time job or volunteering. Join some networking organizations. Maybe take a few classes. Or just target the companies you apply to better.
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