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Thread: When to start looking for employment?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    When to start looking for employment?

    I am finally set to graduate this December, and I am trying to get a grasp on exactly when I should be actively looking for employment. Im not sure if now is too early...

    When did you guys start looking before graduation?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Sooner rather than later. If you aren't looking to work in the same area you are going to school, you might have to wait a few months. I would start in September to October. Remember, a job search is a full time job ,and if you are a graduating student in a recession think of it as 1 1/2-2 full time jobs ON TOP OF your classwork. If your goal is to earn that offer upon graduation, which is still an uphill battle, you are going to be juggling the job search (sending out resumes, networking, interviewing, etc.) AND your courseload leaving you little time for anything else.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

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  3. #3
    Cyburbian HomerJ's avatar
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    Well there is no magic number but just to give you an idea I applied for my current job near the middle of December. After several phone interviews, in person interview, paperwork, etc., etc., I did not recieve a formal offer and begin working until mid to late March. So, like nrschmid said, sooner is better than later if you want to hit the ground running.
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  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    I agree with the others - sooner rather than later. Just be upfront with the potential employers that you will graduate in December and would be able to start working then. If someone is hiring people right out of school they will be aware that you have to finish before you can start working. I was hired for my first job out of school about 6 weeks before actually finishing school and starting my new job; I had begun my job search at the beginning of that last semester.

  5. #5
    Even with a job offer in hand, it can take up to a month or more before beginning the first day on the job due to paperwork. My current employer did my background check after I accepted a tentative offer of employment, which was a two-month affair. If on the other hand it's a faster process, some employers may be willing to push back the start date a month or so to accommodate a new recruit or work around a student's schedule for a couple of months. To echo what has been said, sooner rather than later. I'll even add that there are no major downsides by applying early.

    Worst thing to do IMHO would be to wait till November and December... the same time everyone else in your class starts looking for employment.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    When I graduated planning school (and the market was much more friendly) I had three offers on the table before I finished my thesis. Indeed, I started working before I was done (and that delayed my finsishing by half a year...) I'm not bragging here, but just saying that some employers are willing to hire good people even before they complete their education. So, I think you could start looking any time. I know people who have been hired with a conditional agreement that they needed to finish their degree by a given date (because the position required that level of education). Similarly, I know people hired at places where pay scale is directly linked to education. They started at a lower scale and, upon completion, moved up to a higher income bracket.

    Of course, this is a very difficult market and so starting early is probably a good idea in that sense, too.
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  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    I also did what wahday did - started my job before I was done with my thesis. There are at least two other planners here who did the same, one hired before me and one after. There is no harm in starting too early, but you will regret it if you start too late.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    I started my job search about 3 months before graduation. I went on numerous interviews and did not land my 1st job until about a month after graduation, but I got to choose between 2 offers, which felt good and then was offered another job after I started my gig (it took them 1 month to make a decision) which i respectfully declined. It doesn't hurt to apply early. If your the right candidate, they will wait for you.
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  9. #9
    Cyburbian beach_bum's avatar
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    I started about 3-4 months out and had an offer prior to gradution, but that was in the spring of 2008. If you are applying for any federal jobs, you can start applying at least 6 months out. It can't hurt to use the summer to scout out potential employers, start compiling a list of web links for their job sites, contacts etc. See other threads about job search strategies. For most local gov. jobs, 3-4 months is plenty of time. Keep in mind the budget cycles for the various agencies because the start of the fiscal year is when new positions are advertised for. For example in NC, the fiscal year is July 1-June 30 so you will hopefully start to see the new positions advertised soon.
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  10. #10
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by AG74683 View post
    I am finally set to graduate this December, and I am trying to get a grasp on exactly when I should be actively looking for employment. Im not sure if now is too early...

    When did you guys start looking before graduation?

    Thanks!
    Well, today is a new normal and when folks who graduated years ago started looking is not appropriate to today.

    IMHO you should start looking months ago, building your networks, putting out feelers, looking for internships...get on it. Brutal conditions out there.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    Well, today is a new normal and when folks who graduated years ago started looking is not appropriate to today.

    IMHO you should start looking months ago, building your networks, putting out feelers, looking for internships...get on it. Brutal conditions out there.
    Actually I have an Internship currently, so I guess that helps

    Thanks for the tips!

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    Well, today is a new normal and when folks who graduated years ago started looking is not appropriate to today.

    IMHO you should start looking months ago, building your networks, putting out feelers, looking for internships...get on it. Brutal conditions out there.
    I'll echo this comment. You should have started already. The internship will help.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  13. #13
    Cyburbian
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    When shouldn't you be looking for a job? After all, isn't that what school is for? To prepare you for the working world? Unless you are attending a program for self-enrichment, which is honorable, it is really to groom you as a planner. Day one of your first internship, the first page of your portfolio, should all be working towards the day you embark on your career as a planner.

    But then again, I didn't earn my first offer for 18 months after graduation because I left out the art of interviewing. so....
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  14. #14
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Yes, sooner rather than later. Keep in mind it takes a little while to get your resume in order and start formulating what you're going to want to say in your cover letter, have them peer-reviewed, secure references and letters of reocommendation, practice interviewing, and so forth. I did this as soon as I started my final semester, and started actively applying to jobs around March, about two months before I graudated in May. I got an interview for a local GIS job just a week or two after I graduated, and even though I didn't get the job, it was good to get my feet wet with interviewing. If you can secure your first interview before you graduate...all the better.

    Despite an exhaustive national search, I didn't land a job related to the field until a year after I started looking, and about 9-10 months after graudating. So, the sooner you can start applying, the better. You also learn how to better your resume, cover letter, and interviewing as you go along, so the sooner you start, the further ahead you'll be on the learning curve when it comes to job searching.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
    -Steven Tyler

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