Since summer is my favorite season, I always hated those relentless and annoying back-to-school commercials that infringed upon the lull of the all too short summer season and yanked me back to the stark reality of fall, which is why I'm reluctant to post this today. On the other hand, since the goal of my blog is to help you succeed in your career, I feel the need to post this now, lest you miss out on the critical fall recruitment window. Because, just as they say in those equally annoying commercials for bankrupt businesses, "once it's gone, it's gone."
Many seniors are surprised when I tell them that certain companies, industries and programs recruit only in the fall semester for full-time positions. They mistakenly think that all companies recruit in the spring since it's closer to graduation. The accounting, finance and consulting industries, for example, typically recruit in the fall, as well as several leadership and rotational programs. Bigger firms, with more formalized programs, tend to recruit in the fall, as opposed to smaller firms which might hire more on an ad hoc basis. However, since many seniors have their sights on the top firms, it's in your best interest to get ready sooner than later. I always tell my seniors to be ready to "hit the ground running" at the beginning of the fall semester.
So, what does that mean? First of all, it means making an appointment with your college's career center. Fall appointments in my career center fill up very quickly, and I would assume it's the same on many college campuses, so you should book an appointment as soon as possible. I would suggest calling now to book a September appointment.
Listed below is my senior "to do" list for the fall recruiting season, which I recommend you discuss with your career counselor at your appointment.
- Make sure your resume is perfect and is strategically targeted to the industry you want to enter
- Have a cover letter reviewed to make sure you're writing them correctly
- Schedule a mock interview to practice and perfect your interviewing skills
- Attend your school's career fair (even if you think there are no companies you're interested in - I bet you'll be pleasantly surprised)
- Go to as many industry and company events as possible to network with recruiters
- Establish a LinkedIn profile or update the one you have
- Practice and hone your 30-second pitch so you can deliver it flawlessly
By gearing up early, you'll be able to take advantage of any and all opportunities that come your way this fall. Come spring break, you'll be in that enviable position of being able to totally relax while some of your friends are scrambling to gear up for the industries that recruit in the spring!