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I’m currently completing an internship through my college that ends in December.

I want to cut my 3-year college program short to a 2-year program, apply for graduation in December when my internship ends, and begin working in the new year since I have an additional academic background and feel ready to make the leap.

When do you think it’d be best to start applying for jobs if my intention is to begin working in January/February ‘21? And how would I let any company I apply to know that my start date is for those months? Cover letter, resume?

Personally I want to start applying now since I do find the process daunting and I don’t have the best history with applying for full-time jobs 😅

-- UPDATED --

Thanks for your responses everyone! I really appreciate them and it seems the overall consensus that I get on it so I've started doing that.

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    It took me ten months to get my first real job out of college, so no, not too early. In fact, depending on your industry and the job market in your area, you may want to prepare for it taking longer than February to find a job, especially in the current economic circumstances.
    – Torisuda
    Sep 28 '20 at 17:07
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    100% not too soon, Update your resume with approximate start date if you like, but not required. its when you get an offer, you will negotiate your starting date
    – Strader
    Sep 28 '20 at 18:39
  • @Torisuda You're right, I don't think I'm underestimating how hard it'll be but I'm potentially setting myself up with an expectation to be employed which isn't healthy at all.
    – zeekie
    Oct 1 '20 at 5:12
  • @Strader Thanks, I'm just adding when I'm graduating and when I'll be available to work from. I'll change it up if need be
    – zeekie
    Oct 1 '20 at 5:14
  • @zeekie Perfect strategy
    – Strader
    Oct 1 '20 at 14:40
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No, it is not too soon.

As a good rule of thumb, it takes 1 month for every 10,000 of salary to find a job. Now, again, that's a rule of thumb, not set in stone. (I can already see someone saying, "Yes, but my father's cousin's sister's brother's roommate's former boss managed to get a job in 2 days." Yes, exceptions happen, but being new, follow that rule.

Start applying now, and get your name out there. List your resume on job boards, get advice from people in the job market now. Ask a friend, or a family friend to do practice interviews so you can get used to being asked tough questions.

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  • Well, for my first job in the UK (not my first job), I went for an interview on Friday, had the job offer on Monday, and returned it signed the same day.
    – gnasher729
    Sep 29 '20 at 7:26
  • @gnasher729 dang if I didn't call that one. Sep 29 '20 at 13:02
  • It can definitely take a while to find a job, but the time depends more on your industry, skills, and local job market than salary IMO. One month per ten grand in salary seems absurdly high for most situations though.
    – Kat
    Sep 29 '20 at 21:22
  • @Kat Sure thing, what is a better rule of thumb? Sep 29 '20 at 21:28
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"Yes! Don't wait!" Start right now developing your "sales pitch," because from now on you are [in part ...] a salesman!

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    I agree with this, but could you add more detail? Sep 28 '20 at 18:35
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When applying to big organizations, the whole pipeline between sending in your CV + resume, planning 2 or more interviews and HR arranging all the necessary paperwork for your contract can easily take three months. Even with smaller organizations the whole process can easily take a month or longer. Apart from that, in almost all cases organizations/companies are perfectly willing to agree to a starting date one or two months in the future ( after all when they take on employees from other companies/organizations those employees often have to serve out notice periods). So even if your first job application would be successful (by no means guaranteed) applying now (end of September 2020) is not too soon if your goal is to start working in January/February 2021.

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  • Yes, this is the sort of process I was expecting and felt like it'd be good to get started now but felt confused.
    – zeekie
    Oct 1 '20 at 5:16
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It is almost never too late to apply for job, especially in STEM fields. Fresher your diploma better are your chances. Unless you are going for senior position, recent degree will push you ahead of other applicants.

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  • Do you mean "never too early"?
    – Kat
    Sep 29 '20 at 21:23
  • Thanks, yeah I'm in a STEM field and jobs are aplenty but it's so much hit and miss. I heard a good rule of thumb to ride on the phrase New Grad is ~6 months so better to start ASAP
    – zeekie
    Oct 1 '20 at 5:18

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