Job hunting: How soon is too soon to start?

January 14, 2010 at 10:00 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 17 Comments
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Posted by: Rebecca

After spilling our hearts and posting our thoughts on where we’d like to head after graduation, Shantae and I began to wonder: Who’s hiring, anyway?

To answer the mind-boggling question, my sassy roommate and I visited several Web sites to gain insight on which companies posted entry-level job openings for public relations grads within the past month.

Surprise! We found several public relations agencies and corporations in our target cities that are currently hiring, and many of these available positions fit our educational backgrounds and skills sets.  Image courtesy of www.websitesandsoundbites.com

In this economy, it’s promising to see available positions for recent grads.  However, Shantae and I are stumped, and we have several questions about the job-search process.

PR pros and HR extraordinaires: We know it’s important to network, but how soon is too soon to start the job hunt?  What is the average time span between submitting an application, interviewing and starting the job?   If a company posts a job opening in January, is it foolish to submit an application if we’re not graduating until May?

Feel free to weigh in with your own experiences!

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17 Comments »

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  1. Hi,

    I’m no professional, I’m also a senior graduating in May. However, there’s a guy at my school who’s telling me he has job offers already. Maybe he’s just bragging, because I didn’t know companies could predict that they would need new employees six months in advance, especially inexperienced entry-level employees.

    Recently, I got a lead for a summer internship through Twitter. Obviously this guy, who works for the communications department of a global company doesn’t think it’s too soon to start searching for an intern.

    Although, I personally think January is too soon. I feel like March is ideal but I guess it depends on the company’s goals and timeline.

    • Hi Jasmine,

      I know plenty of accounting majors who already have job offers. I guess the market is a bit different for them!

      I’m glad you were able to get a head start on a possible summer internship.

      In the end, I guess it wouldn’t hurt to apply and inform the employer about your graduation date. I’m excited to hear what professionals say!

      Thanks for chiming in,
      Rebecca

  2. I would start applying as soon as possible. My only fear was that around March and April every PR grad in the country is going to start applying to the same positions at the same time. With that said, I started applying in December. Even if a company can’t offer you a position at the time being, at least you’ve shown initiative and your resume is on file with the HR Department. I was pondering this question over Christmas break, and realized after talking to a few people that you can’t wait until the last minute to apply for jobs, especially with the job market and economy in the state that it’s in.

    FYI, love the blog and love the article. Gives me motivation to write a post on my site about job applications prior to graduation. “Sassy & Classy PR” is too cute. Best of luck with all your future endeavors, ladies!

    • Hi Jasmine,

      Thanks for checking out the blog! We love being sassy and classy.

      You make a great point; March/April is the time every soon-to-be PR grad will panic and begin applying for jobs. I’m just afraid my resume may get “lost in the stack” if it’s filed too early. Then again, that’s what following up is for, right?

      Best of luck to you!

      Rebecca

  3. Ladies,

    I hope you decide to start applying asap! I know quite a few PR students graduating in May or June who’ve started the job search already. I know I have. This post on Culpwrit talks all about when to apply, and it points to December!

    http://www.culpwrit.com/2009/03/03/welcome-to-the-job-search-youre-late/

    Also, some students have already been hired, like Danny Cox of OU: http://dannycoxdidit.com/2010/01/14/prospective-employee-no-more/

    Sure the job search can take forever but it looks like the early bird, gets the worm.

    • Thank you, Evan! Looks like “early bird gets the worm” is the consensus thus far. Best of luck to you in your job search!

      Rebecca

      • Evan,

        Thank you for the link and contributing to the discussion. I guess it’s time to kick it into gear. Best of luck!

        Shantae

  4. I suggest that you start applying now. I would even send my information to agencies/companies that aren’t actively hiring. You already know this, but our industry is all about networking. Take advantage of informational interviews. They’re a great way to get your name out there, meet a few new PR folks and have candid conversation about the biz. In fact, the position I have now is a result of an informational interview I did in May 2009. They called with an offer in December 2009 (this networking stuff really does work).

    Good luck, classy lady.

    • Wow! It’s awesome to know you were offered a position through an informational interview. You must have made a lasting impression!

      It sounds like Shantae and I need to get a head start. Thanks again for sharing your insight, Brandi!

      • I agree that networking is crucial to succeeding in public relations. In fact, all the internship opportunities I’ve been afforded stem from a third-party endorsement. PRKent stresses the importance of networking, but no one has ever given me much advice about how and when to apply for jobs.

        Who knew informational interviews could result in post-graduation employment. Sounds like a future post.

        Thanks for the advice, Brandi!

      • And even if you’re never hired in somewhere that you interview, you’ll see those faces at industry pow-wows (PRSA, AAF, etc) so it’s good to make friends. To Shantae’s point about third-party endorsements, it happens! That is how many of our out-of-state PRKent grads got their feet through the doors of their employers.

        Have a great weekend my PRKent sisters.

  5. I don’t think it is every too early. Each company is different and offers their positions out at different times. Some organizations hire in January for new grads, while others wait until summer.

    My advice is to apply now to your favorite company or top 5, and then if you don’t hear back, apply again in March, April, or just before graduating in May. Iron down a list of your top 5-10 organizations.

    If you don’t have linkedin, get it! Feel free to add me on linkedin by typing in this email for me – Rdematteo@gmail.com

    Great post, and good luck

    • Hi Rich,

      Thank you for your response! I will definitely make a list of my top 5-10 organizations and make contacts.

      I’d love to add you on LinkedIn!

      Rebecca

      • Hey Rich,

        Thanks for stopping by and offering a different perspective. Sounds like Rebecca and I need a “Job Wish List.” Strategically targeting 5-10 organizations will likely increase our chances. Great advice!

        Shantae

    • Thanks for replying Rich, -the power of Twitter!

      So consistency is best for applying for top 5! Linkedin is a great resource to use, thank you for your HR expertise!

      Really appreciate it!

      Yanique

  6. Hey girls-

    I graduated from college last May (09) and started the job application process on January. I can tell you, I was not successful much before May. This industry is a lot different than others (like finance, accounting, etc.)- it’s more of a quick hire process than making those hires far in advance. There is a great chance, especially in this economy, that budgets could be cut and guess what? There goes your job :-/

    That being said, I don’t think it hurts to start applying for jobs now, but don’t be let down if you don’t get any bites. Brandi makes a good point above about networking- it’s never too early for that! Who knows, wherever you send your resume might not have a position open now but they might in the future.

    For now, I recommend enjoying the last semester of college and try to make good connections for great jobs!

    • Hey Christa,

      I agree public relations is a different kind of industry. I have friends pursuing other majors who think very differently about job hunting. Although I think it’s important to begin applying early, I won’t become discouraged if no one offers me a position before graduation. It’s a learning process. If nothing else, we can make great contacts. Thanks for the comment!

      Shantae


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