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Thread: How soon should you apply while still in school?

  1. #1
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    How soon should you apply while still in school?

    How soon should I start applying for jobs? I graduate in May 2011. I have thus far been weary to send out resumes as I assume they'll take one look, realize I can't start till probably June, and toss it out. At the same time I realize obtaining a planning (government or private) job can be a lengthy process. Wondering what etiquette is with all this?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Apply Now

    You should not delay in applying for jobs because you perceive a potential employer may think June is too far off. In fact, if their fiscal year ends June 30th, they certainly know about their hiring capabilities. If their fiscal year ends this month, they surely have budgeted for next year.

    Meanwhile, you need to focus on your resume, cover letter and goals. Here's a good link to give you some ideas about formatting. http://www.gsd.harvard.edu/professio...ents/#handouts

    Also, start networking yourself if you haven't already and plan on attending the APA conference in the Spring.

    Good Luck

  3. #3
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    At this point send out as many letters as you can. Understand that if the deadline for a job is in January, they are probably looking to hire a month after that. If you can't make that time frame, and can't interview at their convenience, you might have to wait until you can meet their deadlines... good luck out there.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  4. #4
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    4-6 six weeks before graduation is tops. Any earlier and HR will just toss the application.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    Start now. Hiring decisions are not usually done overnight and can take days, weeks, and even months before any action. The sooner you get your name out there the better. I agree, you might be passed over for some jobs that are looking for right now. That's just business. But you still have to do it.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    There's merit to both opinions here. Many communities are going to take one look, realize you are still in school, and take a pass. Realistically, most would probably take a pass even if you had already graduated, simply because there are som many people with yers of experience who are applying for jobs. But I have also seen recruitments get dragged on for month. One of the jobs I landed took eight months from when I applied to when I accepted. If you have the time to waste, what does it hurt to apply? You will learn from the experience and be better prepared to apply by the time you graduate. Just be prepared for rejections and don't get discouraged.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  7. #7
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal View post
    There's merit to both opinions here. Many communities are going to take one look, realize you are still in school, and take a pass. Realistically, most would probably take a pass even if you had already graduated, simply because there are som many people with yers of experience who are applying for jobs.
    Yes indeedy.

    Moving at the speed of government notwithstanding, the OP needs to start networking NOW. Or months ago. Do not delay. And the OP also needs to start planning a Plan B until they find a planning job, so networking for a transition job is in order as well. Get cracking.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Rygor's avatar
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    In this economy it wouldn't hurt to be looking now since it could be months before you land something anyway. I know if you are looking at anything in local or federal government it's probably going to take a long time to go through the process, too. If deadline for application at, say, end of January, it will take 3-4 weeks for initial review of applications, then 2 weeks or more for phone interviews, then another month for personal interviews, then a month at least before you would be expected to start, especially if you are out-of-state. You'd wouldn't be starting until you were finished with school, anyway.
    "When life gives you lemons, just say 'No thanks'." - Henry Rollins

  9. #9
    Cyburbian transguy's avatar
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    I seem to remember starting applying for jobs in January before I graduated. It was a different economy, but I got some interest from some of those early submittals. I think you'll probably have more (realative term, I got a lot of "no thank you's and no responses) luck from the private side when sending out early. As others have said, what's the downside of applying early?
    Much work remains to be done before we can announce our total failure to make any progress.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian rcgplanner's avatar
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    I say that you should begin looking now with an eye towards sending out applications in late January. I graduated in December 2007 and began applying for jobs in August 2007. It took me until March 2008 to start my first job.

    I will agree with what others have said. You may see quite a few rejections thanks to the still weak job market, but even rejections can help strengthen your overall job searching/interviewing skills. Good luck!

  11. #11
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    The hiring process for jobs takes quite a bit of time, usually lasting a few months. This can especially be the case for government jobs.

    Right now, if you haven't done so already, it is best to get all your ducks in a row in gathering all your application materials. It takes a long time to put together and perfect your resume, get a letter or letters of recommendation from employers and professors, establish good references (including not only supervisors but also those that are colleagues or professors), and write a very good base cover letter but that can be easily tailored or changed for different jobs, as well as buy all the supplies you may need such as resume paper and envelopes and printer ink for those jobs that you have to apply for through snail-mail. If you are planning on putting together a portfolio or a series of work or classroom examples, this is the time to do it. Also, have people look at your resume and cover letter, particularly people that are familiar with government jobs or planning jobs specifically. Have them critique it, but try to seek many opinions since one person is not always correct. All of this preparation takes a long time and is something I underestimated.

    I began applying to jobs in earnest around spring break, which was about 2 months before I graduated. But once you're ready, it doesn't hurt to start looking as soon as possible and begin applying. Another benefit to applying early is you kind of get a feel for the process and it gives you more of a cushion of time to perfect your job applying skills and your interviewing skills, as you get better at all this the more you practice, the more you learn, and the more you send out. It's been 7 months since I graduated and about 9 months since I began looking and I'm still looking. But I'm glad I started applying sooner rather than later because it gave me more time to perfect my resume and applications as I learned more with each one I sent out. I also had an interview only weeks after graduating, thanks to a job I applied to while I was still finishing up school. I didn't get the job (it was a GIS job anyways), but it was my first interview and I was really nervous, so if I had to bomb an interview, I'm glad it was that one. Since then, I've learned a lot and have become a much better interviewer.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
    -Steven Tyler

  12. #12
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    This is all good advice - I appreciate it. I believe I have my application pieces in order, and have applied to a few positions already. Of course, I was denied, which is the original reasoning for this question. I just wanted to make sure I was being denied on merit and not because of timing

  13. #13
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by natewoo View post
    This is all good advice - I appreciate it. I believe I have my application pieces in order, and have applied to a few positions already. Of course, I was denied, which is the original reasoning for this question. I just wanted to make sure I was being denied on merit and not because of timing
    Your full-time job very soon (if not now) should be to try and secure a job - any job - upon graduation. Gear yourself up for that.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian
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    Noooooo! Don't apply yet! Give us 2010 guys who haven't found anything yet a few more months before the market floods again! Remember, we are just the same as you.

    heh heh heh...j/k. Apply away.

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