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I am currently attending a 4-year university in Southern California. This next year will be my final year (Computer Science major). When is the best time to start applying for jobs?

Some details:

  1. I am looking for a full-time position at a large software company.

  2. Software Engineering position is desired, but if not, at least something in that ballpark (testing, QA, etc.).

  3. I've held an internship for 2 years at a large company (end of freshman year to end of junior year) and I am currently in the middle of a summer internship at another large company. However, I don't foresee any job offers for me immediately after I graduate.

  4. Start-up companies are not preferred, but neither are they are an impossibility.

  5. I don't mind relocating, I would actually prefer to move up north to the SF area. I don't mind moving across the country for work as well.

Hopefully those details will give you an idea of what I'm looking for. But basically, I am unsure as to when to begin applying for jobs... Are entry positions posted a year in advance? A month? Should the job descriptions explicitly state that they are looking for someone to start in a few months? Or should I just apply to anything that seems interesting?

I want to be thoroughly prepared for this upcoming year so if you have any thoughtful advice, tips, or tricks, please don't hesitate to share.

Thank you for your time.

closed as off-topic by user13673, gnat, Garrison Neely, Jim G., Michael Grubey Aug 28 '14 at 6:53

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions asking for advice on what to do are not practical answerable questions (e.g. "what job should I take?", or "what skills should I learn?"). Questions should get answers explaining why and how to make a decision, not advice on what to do. For more information, click here." – user13673, gnat, Garrison Neely, Jim G., Michael Grubey
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    You should be looking for an internship during your last year of school – Juan Mendes Aug 26 '14 at 19:47
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    Although OP has stated their location (US), keep in mind that this answer can vary widely based upon culture. A general rule of thumb for US is immediate (see answer below), but in Japan and South Korea you begin your job search in your junior year of college: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simultaneous_recruiting_of_new_graduates – Conor Aug 26 '14 at 19:48
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    @JuanMendes I held an internship with a large company for two years (end of freshman year to end of junior year). I got hired for another internship this summer. My current internship ends sometime in September. Are you saying I should get another internship and work throughout the school year? – Kellowyn Aug 26 '14 at 19:50
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    I'm guessing Juan means (because this is what I'm doing) you should be negotiating for a full time offer on graduation from any company you interned at. This is relatively major agnostic within technical disciplines as well. – Calvin Aug 26 '14 at 19:52
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    @Kellowyn If you can get a part time internship, they may hire you full time when you graduate. Even if they don't, most of my school colleagues (including me) got a job quickly when they graduated (in the field of software engineering) – Juan Mendes Aug 26 '14 at 19:52
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Each company has a different procedure and time-frame - the best way would be to identify a couple that you are interested in and ask them directly. Most tech companies (who hire college grads) are aware of when college students graduate and will work with you. The other things mentioned here are also good places to start - I.E. job fairs and internships. In addition to those, I would suggest hackathons and other events where the companies participate. If you are interested in the SF area, I highly suggest this hackathon - they also frequently provide transportation costs for people who need to travel (they know college students are poor), and that will allow you to get in touch with companies from that area.

And while it is true that companies hire when they need people, good companies (especially tech-oriented ones) hire good employees 24x7 - they want the talent and will find a use for it (this is where the good management part of a good company comes into play).

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    It would be nice if I could ask directly, but who would I get in contact with to ask for details? Probably not Customer Service or anything like that. HR (although probably unlikely)? – Kellowyn Aug 26 '14 at 21:10
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    I strongly support the idea of getting involved in hackathons and meetups and any other community events you can find. Lots of networking and job offers come out of things like that - I got my first programming job because the conference I was at told anyone looking for a job to write their name and email address on the board, and then someone contacted me! – Jonathon Jones Aug 26 '14 at 21:23
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    @Kellowyn - If you really don't know anyone at the company who can give you a better contact, call their main 1800 number and ask to be transferred to HR - it's not to uncommon, they will frequently get calls from people who do background checks asking who worked here for how many years with what title, but the same people should be knowledgeable about the hiring process. – user2813274 Aug 26 '14 at 23:15
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Very often, positions are posted for immediate hiring. But you probably shouldn't worry about that.

Pretty much every college has a job placement group to help you through these questions. Go, talk with them - they've seen years and years of graduates and will have contacts in business.

Also, pretty much every college has at least one job fair, where companies come to hire up all of the fresh meat new graduates. You can certainly apply sooner, but job fair time is a clear cut time to apply for jobs.

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    I completely forgot about the job fair. We usually have one in the fall and again in the spring. I'll look into the programs available at my school, thanks. – Kellowyn Aug 26 '14 at 19:48
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Great question. You should start looking immediately in the Fall. Better yet, try to get an internship before then (OK, probably too late for you personally for that now). Having worked in a company doing large scale software recruitment before, I can say the goal was always to have the first round of offers out before Thanksgiving so students could go home and discuss with families and get back to us early December. We would continue recruiting into the spring, but often areas would start to fill up, and we'd refocus on intern recruiting. There was always a sense of getting the "leftovers" when looking for seniors in the Spring, so we focus on hitting recruitment numbers in the Fall. You really want to be a first draft pick!

Note that this is very different for experienced hires, where people are brought in for specific positions. It is also very different at small companies (more like experienced hires at large companies). At large companies hiring new graduates (your situation), the company just turns the recruiting machine crank as hard and fast as they need to grow and replace attrition.

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    Thanks for your response. I held an internship for 2 years at a large company and then I am currently in the middle of my summer internship right now. As mentioned in the "replies" of the question, there doesn't seem to be a job offer at the end of this internship either. Even then, I'd like to prepare for the worst, hence why I asked this question :) I will update the question to indicate that I have held internships in the past. – Kellowyn Aug 26 '14 at 20:53
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    @Kellowyn Good for you. Internships are great experience. One thing you should be prepared to answer in an interview is "Why should I hire you if the company you interned with for two summers doesn't want to?" (hopefully they ask it more tactfully than that). If you can point to clear factors outside your performance that is a good thing (i.e. due to financial concerns they have a hiring freeze, or something like that). – Jared Aug 26 '14 at 21:03
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    Also, it's great to hear about the recruitment process from a large scale software company. Thank you so much for your insight. – Kellowyn Aug 26 '14 at 21:03
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    I definitely have an answer prepared for that question. Thank you for bringing that likely scenario up. – Kellowyn Aug 26 '14 at 21:06

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