For College Seniors: How Soon to Start the Job Hunt?

How soon should graduation-bound college seniors apply for jobs? Opinions from recent college graduates are mixed.

With thousands of students leaving university’s across the country every few months, the job market is being inundated with varying levels of skilled, eager young men and women. More than 1,850 students graduated from Florida A&M with bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in April alone.

Some students sharpen their skills and build their resumes throughout school projects. Others use internships to springboard into the working world.

Alison Nelson, a 2009 graduate from the University of Florida, landed a job as a health-support technician in Gainesville, Fl, after a series of internships. She recommends that prospective graduates think ahead in the job hunt. “People need to look for jobs months or a year in advanced before they graduate,” Nelson said.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers 24 percent of 2010 college graduates who applied for a job have one waiting after graduation, up from 20 percent last year.

Instead of applying for jobs, Kristen Hanna, also a UF graduate, applied to law school at Florida State University. During her time in law school, Hanna had internships, externships and also studied abroad at Oxford University. She continued the job search after finishing law school, and says, “Everything comes with time.”

Sometimes, it takes both effort in school and some forethought to get a job immediately after graduating. Ask Danon Bell, a 2007 FAMU Broadcast Journalism graduate.

“The great thing about getting a job was getting a job,” Bell said. He spent his years at FAMU’s School of Journalism & Graphic Communication (SJGC) volunteering for FAMU TV 20. He also worked for the local TV station. Now, Bell is an editor at ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut.

Deborah Humphrey, also a SJGC graduate, asserts that making an early impression, particularly through internships, is more than half the battle. Some current FAMU students agree that networking and being dedicated are almost guarantees to get hired.

“Once you get your foot in the door you have accomplished the hard part,” Humphrey said.