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Attention Students: When You Should Start Looking for a Job

September 7, 2017


It’s September again! A new school year is underway. As a student, this is perhaps one of the most chaotic times of the year. Buy new textbooks, meet new classmates, adjust class schedules, set new goals, join new clubs, attend parties, settle into a new dorm room… the list just goes on and on. But amidst all the back to school madness, there’s one thing that students often miss out on or forget entirely – job search. Depending on what you’re seeking and when you plan to start working, you may have to start your job search as early as right now, in September! Believe it or not, most recruiters are on campus right now and your university will be organizing career fairs in the next month or so don't get caught with your pants down!


Understand What You Are Looking For

Think about what type of jobs you are trying to obtain first. Are you looking for a part-time job just to earn some extra income? Are you aiming for an internship or co-op position at a specific company? Are you searching for a flexible freelance job that allows you to work in between classes and during breaks? Or are you graduating in the next 4-8 months and you're looking for your first job out of university?

Part-time Job / Freelance

If this is your goal, then I’ve good news for you. You can start your job search whenever you want and not worry about missing any deadlines. Casual labour jobs typically hire year-round and the hiring processes are usually faster and more straightforward. Generally speaking, the casual nature of these positions is that candidates of similar skill sets and experience are more readily available. As a result, employers are less committed to these positions, leading to more frequent staff shuffling and constant hiring. The turn around time from submitting an application to receiving a job offer could be as little as 3 days.  


When you should start the job search: When you are ready to work

Internship, Co-op, Full-time Job

If an internship or a co-op position is what you seek, then you should probably start sooner rather than later. While your goal is to secure a job as soon as possible, a company’s goal is to find a quality candidate that matches the position perfectly. Hiring an employee is a big investment and commitment. When companies hire, they take it very seriously. It's also very procedural. What do we mean by that? A position is usually publicized for at least 2-4 weeks to ensure that all potential candidates have a chance to apply. Then comes the rigorous review progress - phone screening followed by in-person interviews, reference checks, a second round of interviews, sometimes a third round, etc. The whole process, from start to finish, can take several months to complete depending on the size of the company and the amount of resources they have dedicated to hiring talent! Months!

When to start the job search: A general rule of thumb is to plan ahead and give yourself at least 3 months’ time. If you are looking to start working in January, start your search in September. If you are a 4th year student and is planning to work right after you graduate in May, take note that some employers will be recruiting fresh grads to join their company as early as September. Start your search early!



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