How Do I Apply for a Job if I’m Graduating in December?

Bonnie Dewkett
by Bonnie Dewkett   Career Advice Contributor 

You’ve heard the expression, “Timing is everything.” That may be true, but what if this timing doesn’t match a typical timeline for graduating students entering the workforce? Maybe you’re completing your degree on a different schedule and are wondering how to get a job in December. Perhaps you’ve lined up a summer internship or planned a post-grad trip that will delay your entry into the workforce, and you’ll have gaps in your resume.

Whatever the reason, we’ll show you how to navigate unexpected timing and logistical issues that may crop up as you get set to start your career.

Take the first step in landing your dream job by crafting a resume with our expertly designed templates.

Graduating at an “off” time can give you an edge

Earning your degree in December can give you a competitive advantage. Standard graduation schedules don’t dictate hiring needs. So if you’re wondering when to apply for jobs in your senior year, be aware that companies are always looking for fresh recruits.

Many companies also have fresh budget and have pulled together their strategic plans for the year, so they’ll begin looking for the right folks to complete their teams at the beginning of the year.

Since there are fewer job-seeking graduates in the winter, you’ll have less competition. This fares well for you if you’re looking for a job in December.

According to research by ZipRecruiter, late summer is the best time of year to apply to jobs. Over 80 percent of entry-level positions in fast-growing fields get posted during this period.

The timing is perfect if you’re graduating the following December. It allows you to apply and interview during your final semester of school. If you make the right impression, and the position doesn’t need to be filled on the spot, most employers will be willing to wait for you to grab that diploma. This timing also allows you to spend the summer before graduation researching jobs, networking and fine-tuning your resume.

Want to know how to get a job in December? These five tips will get you started:

1. Refine, and further refine, your resume

Choose a resume format that best highlights your skills and experience. Although you should always customize your resume for each job, starting with a well-crafted outline will quickly allow you to apply for a specific role later. Study the job description and incorporate keywords and phrases into your working template. Think you’ll need assistance getting your resume in order? Put our Resume Templates to use, and start off on the right foot.

2. Visit your school’s career center

Have your resume read by a professional career counselor. You’ll be surprised at the difference an extra set of eyes can make. The career staff may also be able to put you in touch with alumni in your field, which could prove to be invaluable connections. Most schools offer assistance to alumni on resumes, job-hunting techniques and interviewing skills, so be sure to take advantage of these benefits.

Young man with glasses working at computer

3. Network! Network! Network!

Create a LinkedIn account if you don’t already have one. It’s the best way to connect with classmates, professors, former bosses and mentors. LinkedIn also enables you to easily research connections at companies to which you’re considering applying. Be sure to check out alumni organizations in your industry. These groups offer networking events that can help you further your career and establish new connections.
Networking can also offer insight into jobs not listed on public websites. When browsing job boards, it’s important to let your connections know you’re actively looking for a job.

4. Join a professional association…now

If your chosen career path has a professional association, now is the time to join. Recent college graduates often wait until they’re hired by a company to join these groups. The smart move is to join these groups prior to graduation. A professional association gives you invaluable access to a targeted network group and online career resources.

5. Be proactive

Interested in working for a company even though they don’t have any current openings? Send them a resume and well-written cover letter anyway. Emphasize your strengths, skills and experience, and how they’ll benefit the employer. Most companies keep resumes and cover letters on file and review them once a position opens up.

What about other logistical issues?

Those graduating in December aren’t the only ones applying for jobs in off times. Maybe you have a summer internship lined up after a May graduation or are planning post-grad travel plans. In these instances, work back several months from your potential start date and begin searching and applying for positions then. Remember that research and networking should always start earlier.

Keep in mind that many industries, such as finance, begin recruitment early. Alumni in your field or a college career office professional can likely help you navigate these deadlines. Formal training program applications often include multiple interviews and tests. The process can be time-consuming, so don’t be surprised if it takes months rather than weeks.

So, whether you’re looking for a job in December or are faced with other timing issues, there’s always an upside. You won’t have to fight your way through the surge of competing graduates. You’re also likely to hear about upcoming jobs that those on a different timeline won’t have on their radar.

Remember, whatever your timeline, securing the perfect job involves research, networking and selling yourself in the most compelling way possible. Our Resume Builder and Cover Letter Builder are the best places to start. We’ll help you create platforms that’ll showcase your abilities, but we’ll go beyond that. You’ll also find tips to give you that extra edge, like crafting these documents using key punch words and phrases from a specific job description. It’s added touches like this that will get you in the door, and on the team.

About the Author

Career Advice Contributor

Bonnie Dewkett Career Advice Contributor

Bonnie Dewkett holds an M.B.A. in management and is a productivity consultant. Her company, The Joyful Organizer, works to assist clients in maximizing their time, growing their businesses and expanding their career opportunities. Her work has appeared in Women’s Day, Better Homes and Gardens and Parents magazines.


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