I am doing a master's degree in computer science and I formally graduate in September 2019.

However, I start my dissertation period in May and I will have no lectures. So, I have been pondering starting a job around next spring/summer whilst I do my dissertation, but in order to increase my chances I'd prefer to apply ahead of time.

Is it wise to start applying in February with the hopes of starting a new job in the summer?


It's common, especially for larger employers, to recruit current students to start work when they complete their studies. I've been part of university recruiting teams myself. Often it's considered a big recruiting success, a smileyface on the record of the recruiting manager.

If your resume / CV is clear, in the first few lines, about when you're available to start work you can go ahead with this. For example, you might start your resume with this line:

Objective: a challenging programming position beginning when I complete my MS studies in May 2019

But be careful of one thing: any new job may indeed be challenging. It may soak up so much of your time and energy you can't do justice to your dissertation. If you tell an employer you're getting the degree and then you don't get it, you will have some explaining to do.

  • To back this up: I started looking for a job more or less as soon as I entered final year, beginning with just a broad search to get an idea of what was out there, and narrowing in as graduation approached. As a result, I actually started my first job after university the week before I started my final exams. I worked one day a week in between exams, and started full-time the week after they finished. Dec 18 '18 at 15:53

The answer to your question depends heavily on the recruiting channels you'll be applying through. In the right context, that kind of lead time is probably a good thing. In the wrong context, it's definitely a bad thing.

The more "general" recruiting methods - adds on company websites, Indeed, Monster, LinkedIn, etc - are often targeted at people who are currently employed or have employment history. These jobs are typically for people to start "as soon as possible" given typical notice times (ie an employer would expect you to start a few weeks after you accept an offer, in the USA). As an example: If I have a developer job posted on my current employer's website, and I'm hiring right now, it's because I want someone right now - if you interviewed and told me you couldn't start for 9 months, you would not get the job.

On the other hand, employment recruiting targeted specifically at current students is done with the standard educational cycles in mind - if students in your program are typically graduating in May or September, employers coming to your school will expect you to start in those timeframes, even if they're recruiting you in some other month.

So - if you want to apply that far in advance, be mindful of the vehicle through which you're pursuing employment. Seek out career fairs or a careers program at your school, and avoid positions targeted at those already in the workplace. As you get closer to your available date, it may be appropriate to broaden your search beyond the careers office at your school.

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