When Should I Start Applying For A Full-Time Job?

If you’re a senior or a recent college grad, that full-time job search is so real. Knowing that your student loans are just piling up and that money thing is about to be a total issue, getting a full-time job is pretty high on your to-do list. But what should your timeline on this be? How early is too early for applying to a full-time job?

It can never be too early.

As soon as you hit senior year, you might want to keep your eyes peeled for job opportunities. You don’t need to be scouring job boards everyday after class, but signing up for an email listing with a few job-related keywords on there, or keeping your eye on LinkedIn job suggestions might do you some good. You never know what will pop up, and when.

Say you come across the perfect job for you, but it’s October. You might feel a little funny applying to it, and for a good reason -- you’re not going to be able to start it until the next calendar year. We still suggest you go for it. If the company thinks you’re a good fit with them, they might be able to hang tight until you graduate, and then you can spend the rest of senior year not worrying about the full-time job search. If they really need the position right now, they might pass you up; that’s okay! If the deal-breaker was your graduation date, then you might be able to sneak in with them when that rolls around. Make sure to let them know you’d still be interested in working with them to see what they can swing for you.

But when does the action really begin?

The answer to this is pretty simple: Second semester. Ideally, you’d like to use a lot of your winter break perfecting your resume and writing a few sample cover letters. Maybe try sending those along to some dream jobs of yours.

Come the start of the semester, you really should be scouring those job boards regularly. Take a walk down to your school’s career services and sign up for a daily job newsletter. If you’re super serious about getting that job right out of school, do anything you can do to get ahead of the game.

Come January, most employers are onto the senior in college game, so don’t feel worried about timing your start date with your graduation date. A lot of places will be willing (and even expecting) to wait for you to start around June, so just get those applications out there for the taking.

What if I’ve already graduated?

If you’ve already graduated and you’re still on the full-time job hunt, a lot of these rules still apply. Of course you won’t have the conflict of your start date and your graduation date, but you’ll notice a kind of cycle for when the kinds of jobs you’re qualified for are being posted.

A hiring manager one time told me that come around September, you don’t see so many jobs for recent graduates being posted. This is because a lot of the entry-level positions the company is hiring for have been filled by the influx of recent grads. If you’re noticing this, too, don’t worry! Come January, these companies are going to reassess the entry-level positions they need again and you’ll be sure to find something that fits.