Your time in college is wrapping up. As commencement approaches, you might be asking yourself, “When should I start applying for jobs if I graduate in May?”
If you’re nervously wondering when to start applying for jobs before graduation, you’re not alone. Many students worry about landing their first job out of college. Being proactive about the job hunt helps you avoid some of the stress that accompanies getting a job.
While there is no one-size-fits-all answer regarding when to apply for jobs if graduating in May, there are some strategies you should implement as you gear up for graduation.
Keep reading to learn about how to get your job search off to a strong start!
Table of Contents
- When Should I Start Applying for Jobs if I Graduate in May?
- What Soon-to-Be Graduates Should Know About Applying for Jobs
- Tips on Applying for Jobs Before You Graduate
- Make The Most Of Your Interview
When Should I Start Applying for Jobs if I Graduate in May?
The timing of your job search will vary based on your unique situation. However, you’ll want to start searching for potential jobs as soon as you can. When it comes to applying, send out applications at least one or two months before you’ll be ready to get to work.
Many students wonder if it’s okay to apply for jobs before officially graduating and earning their degree. The answer is yes! Hiring managers are often willing to hire students a couple of months (or more) before the official graduation date and then onboard them once they are officially a graduate.
So, don’t worry about sending out applications too early. Instead, focus on creating a plan of action that keeps the job search moving steadily throughout the school year.
Here’s a job search timeline that you can follow.
Fall Semester: Research
Do your research. At the start of senior year, take some time to solidify the type of job you want after graduation. Consider:
- What industry you want to work in
- The size of the company you want to be a part of
- The ideal location(s) you would like to be in
- The absolute musts that the job should have (room for professional growth, ability to share ideas freely, innovative culture, etc.)
- The things that you don’t want in a job (lack of collaboration, long commute, no work/life balance, etc.)
Using your list, hone in on what careers and companies might be a good fit for you. Also, think about how the skills you’ve learned in your classes could be put to use. This is a great time to talk with a career counselor and ask peers and recent grads about their job plans. Keep an open mind during this phase and create a list of potential jobs and companies you are interested in. Review the typical requirements to see how you stack up.
Then, start networking: talk to people in your life who could make for good references, and find people who work in the industry you’re trying to break into.
Winter: Get Ready
As the year moves on, it’s time to enter into the preparation phase. Winter break provides a great opportunity to focus your efforts on the job hunt. If your schedule allows, sign up for classes in the spring semester that will help you build relevant skills. Also, consider applying for an internship that will give you real-world experience in the field you’re hoping to start a career in.
Continue browsing sites like Linkedin and Handshake to look for jobs you could see yourself in. Also, keep in touch with people from your network. They may be able to connect you with a hiring manager or employee at a company you’re interested in.
During this phase, be sure to dust off that resume and update it to be ready for use. You’ll also need to have a professional cover letter at the ready. Have an administrator at the career center look over your resume to get input about how to improve. Once you have the documents perfected, you can move on to the next phase.
Spring Semester: Apply
While the spring semester typically begins in January, it’s common to begin applying for jobs around the end of March or the beginning of April. This gives a nice cushion between the spring semester and graduation.
So, start sending out applications! Reach out to your network, career coach, peers and other connections to see if you can get your foot in the door at a company you’re interested in. Also, send out applications on job sites and see who you hear back from.
When the companies you’ve applied to ask about setting up an interview, you need to be prepared. InterviewFocus is an incredibly useful online interview preparation tool that helps you hone your interview skills. The more interviews you rock, the more potential job offers you’ll have to consider. So be sure to take interview preparation seriously.
What Soon-to-Be Graduates Should Know About Applying for Jobs
Companies are always on the lookout for rising talent. College-educated applicants have an advantage over those without a degree. But you’ll need more than a degree to remain competitive.
Your prospects are particularly good if you’re focusing on industries like chemical manufacturing and wholesale trade. However, if your skills lie elsewhere, don’t let that discourage you. Focus on continually growing your skills and acing the interview to open new doors in the professional world.
In Which Month Do Companies Hire Most?
Recruiters hire year-round…but there are definitely trends. Fall and winter are often busy, while the summer months are slower.
The biggest takeaway for college students? You’ll want to get those job applications out ASAP. On-campus recruiting tends to occur during the spring and fall semesters, with companies looking for students getting ready to graduate in the spring and aim to have these hires set by early June.
Tips on Applying for Jobs Before You Graduate
Ready to go after that dream job? Take these three helpful tips along with you during the job search.
Tip #1: Go to Job Fairs
College job fairs help students network and explore their career options. These events are worth attending — the connections you make there could even help you get an interview someday! (Of course, landing an interview is only half the battle. Before your interview, take time to make sure you’re prepared.)
Tip #2: Seek Out Unadvertised Jobs
When it comes to job applications, the less competition there is, the better — and what’s better than a job opening that isn’t even advertised? To find these, ask people you know and reach out to your contacts at companies. It may take some digging, but the results may be well worth it.
Tip #3: Know How To List Your Degree
If you aren’t sure how to include your graduation date and degree on your resume before you graduate, don’t worry. Just list your expected graduation date — employers will understand you won’t be graduating until that time.
Make The Most Of Your Interview
No matter when you start looking for jobs, you’ll need to excel during the interview process to get hired. InterviewFocus’ mock interviews and patented AI technology will boost your soft skills, giving you the edge you need to stand out in the crowded job market.
If you’re lucky enough to get an interview with a great company, take the next step towards turning your dream job into a reality — give InterviewFocus a try today!