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In the Fall I will be going into my last year of college and will, with almost certainty, be graduating in the Spring. I currently have a internship that runs as long as I'm in college. I've been here for a little over a year and plan to stay until I graduate.

I recently stumbled across a company/job that I know I would love. Being that it's so far from my graduation date still, I doubt that if I applied I would even be considered. One of their requirements is a 4-year degree, which I don't have yet.

I would really like to be considered by this company for employment after graduating and would even leave my current internship for one there, they are a smaller startup so I'm not sure they'd be able to swing an internship.

I'm wondering if I should send in a resume with a cover letter stating that when I do graduate I would like to work there or if I should just wait and hope there is an opening at that time?

Also, this is the software development industry.

  • I'm no expert, but I don't see how it would hurt. They might not have the position open for when you do graduate, so maybe with your prior experience and graduating soon they might make an exception. Also, most companies keep resumes on file for about a year after applying, might come in handy later. – Ill Informed Jul 13 '15 at 17:06
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I'm wondering if I should send in a resume with a cover letter stating that when I do graduate I would like to work there or if I should just wait and hope there is an opening at that time?

It's perfectly reasonable to send a resume and cover letter now.

In your letter, make sure you indicate your current status and expected graduation date, so as not to cause any confusion or annoyance. Be sure to express your enthusiasm for this company (since enthusiasm goes a long way), your desire to work there, relevant skills and technologies you already know, and perhaps how you learned of them. You could also indicate your desire to intern there, if such a position were available.

It's unlikely a company would hire you now, when you aren't actually available until next spring. That's a somewhat long wait for many companies - but you never know. Sometimes, startups are in hiring-mode, and could bring you in as an intern now with the thought to bring you on full-time upon graduation. Sometimes, startups in hiring-mode keep a list of entry-level candidates for the future.

Since you already know one of this company's requirements (a 4-year degree), then I'm assuming you have seen or learned about an actual job posting. Try to indicate in your resume and cover letter how you meet many of those requirements, even if you don't yet have the degree.

Many startups are far more flexible and less formal than more established companies. When I worked in startups, I was much more free to "think outside the box" when hiring than when I worked for larger companies. This works in your favor.

  • Especially since you are a student, you could also try approaching the company for an informational interview. Not all companies do them, but many do in order to promote their company as an employer, and it works to your advantage as well, because you get to meet the people working there, learn about the company and ask useful questions for actual job interviews later. – Kai Jul 15 '15 at 16:42
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Making a connection with companies prior to your graduation date is perfectly acceptable. While your dream position may not be available at the time you're ready to join the ranks of full-time employment, there is no telling whether the company you want to work for may have vacancies at that time. Its not always about simply applying when you see an opening. You're still making a connection and putting yourself in front of the hiring panel at that company beforehand. Such effort shows proactive initiative and you may find many doors opening up for you as a result of it; even when there may not be job postings made public in that organization.

  • Thanks! My next question would be, what to include in the CV? I can't exactly say that I want to apply for one of their current job openings and I feel like I should say more than just my qualifications and I'm interested. – kurtzy317 Jul 14 '15 at 13:28
  • In your resume, you would take a functional design over a chronological design. Highlight your strengths (both soft people skill strengths and technical skills). If you have worked on major academic projects in a department like computer science, highlight what you have done there in using your skills. At this level, few people expect you to come out of college with a huge amount of experience. Between now and when you're ready to enter the workforce, pick up a language or two and use it often. Be familiar with version control and UML design too. – Alex Jul 14 '15 at 13:34
  • @kurtzy317 - don't be afraid to apply for the existing opening by title. It shows you know what you want. Since you have a job description, the title gives you some common ground for communication. Also, you can focus on some of the aspects of the job description that appeal to you. As they grow, they may split this job into different roles and they'll have an idea where you'd fit in. – user8365 Jul 15 '15 at 15:28
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I am/was in the same situation as you (just about a year ahead). The place I currently work at (also software, requiring a 4 year degree, and a small company). I replied around the beginning of my last semester for an Entry-level position.

Something to note is that what you actually know is a lot more powerful than the sheet of paper your school gave you says you know. Personal projects do wonders in showing what you know and that you have motivation to go beyond schooling and look good on a student's resume (assuming you don't have tons of work experience with software at the moment).
You'll never get punished for trying to get your foot in the door. Even if they don't agree to hire you, they might just encourage you to apply when you're graduated.
Another thing to note: If they are consciously aware that you are just graduating and will be entry level, it might be a good idea to elaborate on the wide range of topics (related) that you're knowledgeable about. You might not be a pro, but that's good! It means you'll be bringing a fresh mind to the company!

  • Always build connections and do so with sincerity, because even more powerful than what you know is who you know. – Alex Jul 14 '15 at 20:35
  • This definitely shouldn't be overlooked @Alex, you covered it well in your answer. To be honest, I didn't have a strong network at all (apart from professors... Use them as reference!!)... It worried me a bit, but I got pretty lucky because I was able to display what I knew, and they were aware that graduates-to-be aren't pros :) – Broots Waymb Jul 14 '15 at 20:39

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