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I'm going to graduate in Computer Engineering in 12 months, and I've started sending a few applications for full-time jobs outside of the area where I'm currently studying (where applying for internships wouldn't make sense). However, most places I've applied at wanted to fill a position ASAP, which prevented me from even getting an interview (which some of them outright stated in their negative responses to me).

With that in mind, when would be the ideal time to start sending out applications that won't get lost in a void? Alternatively, how to recognize the places that aren't trying to fill something right now when applying, so I won't waste time writing cover letters for those?

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It varies. Some large companies have a formal recruitment procedure and start hiring early. I got my job offer in November (and graduated in late May - 7 months later.) Many companies don't start interviewing until a few months before. It's better to be early than late. You can always send the resume out again closer to the time.

Keep in mind that most students graduate in May/June. You need to decide if you want to interview with them or after them. I think it would have to be after because they are currently focused on the summer. Which means sending resumes in early September.

Another thing to think about is internships. Many companies extend offers to their interns. If you have the summer off from school, applying for a summer internship would be your best bet. And companies are looking for interns now.

  • The issue here is that my school only has two weeks of off time in july (which in my part of the world is winter), but I like the insight on how when people graduate on other parts of the world can affect this. – Renan Gemignani Jan 27 '14 at 16:35
  • Good point. My advice is Northern Hemisphere centric. If applying to one of those companies, my advice works. If not, add or subtract six months and plan accordingly :) – Jeanne Boyarsky Jan 29 '14 at 3:47
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I think 3 to 4 months before the graduation date is about right.

You need to let the hiring companies have about one month to process your application. One month for arranging/conducting interviews. One month for decision process (making/accepting job offer) plus any unexpected events.

In the mean time, you don't want the job application to jeopardize your on-going classes in the school.

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