Your Senior Year Game Plan to Land a Job After Graduation

As senior year starts, so can the pressure to figure out what you want to be doing at this time next year.

While each industry has a different timeline for its interviewing process, planning in advance will always help you stay ahead of the career curve. Take a look at the below for a guide to job applications in different areas.

Media and Communications

Late Fall - Early Spring: Perfect your resume and portfolio.

Given that a large majority of hiring takes place in the spring and openings will at times arise with little notice, you should use the fall semester to create your resume and portfolio and draft some sample cover letters.

January - February: Finalize and update your resume; meet with your advisor.

The start of the application process isn’t too far away, so it’s important to make sure you meet with your career advisor and finalize all of the materials you need, including work samples and possibly letters of recommendation. Although it’s a bit early, start applying to open positions you see online — you never know what might happen.

March - May: Start applying and interviewing.

View open positions on different companies’ websites and start sending in your materials. Follow up with organizations that you don’t hear back from within a month or two. Prep for your interviews, and tailor your cover letters toward each company to which you apply.

Consulting, Banking, and Finance

In many cases, a summer internship will boost your chances of landing a full-time offer at the end of the summer. The following is for those who are looking for a job without having already received an offer after their internship.

July - August: Prepare your materials.

The process for you is going to begin very early in the school year, so make sure you’ve started working on your materials — such as your resume and cover letters — by the time you get to school.

End of Summer: Applications open.

At the end of August and beginning of September, companies begin posting full-time opportunities. Sometimes, these companies will hold interviews on your college campus, so make sure you’re aware if this is the case. Companies also attend college job fairs and hold special events such as information sessions, company presentations, and meet ’n greets.

Late September - Early October: On-campus interviews begin.

First-round and on-campus interviews begin. Make sure you prepare beforehand and possibly even meet with a counselor at your school to get ready.

October - Early November: Second-round of interviews take place.

Second-round interviews usually take place at the company’s office and sometimes include a dinner or meet ’n greet session for candidates.

November: Positions are offered.

Second-round interviews continue. Companies begin extending offers.

Education

Late fall: Define your career goals.

Get a general idea of your desired job: What size school do you want to work at? Where do you want to work? What type of school? See what’s out there. Make sure you update your resume, draft cover letters, gather your transcript and letters of recommendation, and, if applicable, create a student teaching portfolio.

January - February: Network and determine your testing requirements.

As applications start opening, attend any career-related workshops nearby and begin networking with faculty, friends, and family. Write to school districts to request an application and obtain information about the process. Determine what state tests you’ll have to take to acquire a teacher certification.

March - April: Begin applying and interviewing, attend job fairs.

Start sending resumes, cover letters, and applications to school districts, even if you haven’t seen open positions. Meet with your career counselor and prep for future interviews. If you want to work at a private school, consider using teacher placement agencies. Consider attending job fairs or district open houses.

May - August: Applications still accepted; evaluate job offers.

Interview for jobs and carefully evaluate any offers you receive. Keep sending out your application and materials. Send thank you cards to potential employers after you interview. When you accept an offer, notify any districts for which you still have active applications.

Nonprofits and Government Agencies

Late Fall: Perfect your resume and network; apply to larger agencies.

Now is the time to start networking and compiling a list of organizations in which you’re interested. Larger government agencies, nonprofit fellowships, and larger national nonprofits might start hiring at this point and require you to undergo several months of background checks or other clearance. Smaller nonprofits and agencies tend to post jobs when they’re looking to hire right away, so your best bet is to wait until the spring for those.

January – March: Meet with your advisor; draft cover letters.

Draft a few different cover letters you could potentially use to apply to various types of jobs. Most government agencies and nonprofits start posting open positions for the fall during the spring, so now is the time to get started with the process.

March – June: Start applying and interviewing.

Search for open positions and start applying and interviewing. If you can,follow up with any offices you haven’t heard back from within a month or two.

Sources: Recruiting Timeline. (n.d.). Retrieved August 24, 2014, from Trinity College

Campus Recruiting Timeline for Finance Students. (n.d.). Retrieved August 24, 2014, from DePaul

Education Job Search Timeline. (n.d.). Retrieved August 24, 2014, from Penn State

Job Search Timeline for Teacher Candidates. (n.d.). Retrieved August 24, 2014, from Brandeis

Looking for a Nonprofit or Government Job? (n.d.). Retrieved August 24, 2014, from Stanford

Plan for Finding a Teaching Job. (2014, January 1). Retrieved August 24, 2014, from University of Vermont

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