Anne Marie Gercke, Associate Director
“So, I know I’m really behind in my job search…” Sound familiar? This time of year, this is one of the most common phrases I hear from students as they sheepishly sink in into the chair in my office and go on to list all of the reasons they feel behind the 8 ball. After they stop to take a breath, typically I ask the student what industries he/she is seeking. Since I’m lucky enough to work with undergraduates from The College of Arts and Sciences, I often hear a variety of answers ranging from legal services to non-profit to healthcare to retail to…a whole bunch more. That’s when I offer up four simple words that seem to lift the weight of the world off the student’s shoulders: “You are not behind.”
While there are particular industries that begin recruiting very early, some as early as the summer before the school year even starts (like finance, as well as some consulting and technology), the majority of employers in other industries do what we call ‘just-in-time recruiting’. This means they don’t know quite so far in advance what they will need in terms of full-time employees or interns come the following summer. Those infamous OCR companies that come every fall? They reserve their interview rooms during March or April of the previous school year, a full 3 semesters before the summer for which they are hiring. Employers in other industries don’t necessarily know how many hires they will need so far in advance, so they tend to recruit closer to graduation and/or the summer.
So am I telling you that anyone with interests outside of finance, consulting and technology should kick up their heels and not think about jobs or internships until mid-spring? Absolutely not! Exceptions do exist and I would not be a good career advisor if I failed to encourage you to do your research before the deadlines hit. There are several steps you can take in order to best prepare. Identify key companies of interest. Learn about different job functions and industries by creating a Vault Career Guide account on our subscriptions page. Network with alumni at various organizations and conduct informational interviews. Understand when industries recruit – I often recommend our timing of career fairs as a loose guide as to when various industry recruiting occurs.
Most importantly, while you may feel behind, know your facts before you decide that you’ve messed up in any way. A positive outlook is imperative, because to successfully succeed in your career search, it’s best to feel confident and prepared because that’s what employers will notice when they meet you. If you find you’re lacking confidence or can’t figure out how to best prepare, we’re here in Career Services to help! Call to schedule an appointment with an advisor so that we can help you navigate this daunting process that many of you may be doing for the very first time. You may find that finding the right job isn’t as difficult as it seems, and that you aren’t, in fact, behind at all!
(Please note, it can be challenging during busier months to schedule an appointment since the volume of students we serve is quite large, but we do have walk-ins every weekday, which are first-come, first-served, and these are found on our website and updated daily.)