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What time is the ‘right time’? On the timing of your job search

I’m about half way through what I hope to be my second last semester at Queen’s and I have often wondered when I should start looking for jobs. So I figured I would do some digging and see what I came up with.

Using advice from a suite of online communities including Academia Stack Exchange, GradHacker, old Gradifying posts and personal communications with several of my friends and colleagues who have just finished grad school and are now out in the big bad workforce I aimed to find out: what time is the ‘right time’ to start the job application process? Using these sources, I identified three common answers to the job application timing question.

  • It is never too early to start looking for a job

Many, if not most of the sources I examined suggested that if you see something that is suitable, don’t pass up the opportunity. Be clear about your situation when you apply but also be very clear about why you are so interested in the position and why you would be a great fit for it. If a perfect opportunity presents itself – go for it!


  • Start with about 1-year left

Now this can be challenging because as we all know grad school often offers many bridges or roadblocks that can speed up or slow down your exact completion date. While many say that employers do realize this, another common answer was to start with 1 year remaining, especially for jobs in Academia as the process from submitting an application to actually starting a job is often at least a year.


  • Start once you know your finish date

If you know you will finish by a certain date, then start applying for jobs as soon as you know that date, this way you have a concrete start date, and can say with certainty when you are able to start.


Of course, as with most of these types of questions, there really is no correct answer. Everyone’s story is different. Circumstances change, plans change, speedbumps happen. Don’t stress and remember to start job searching when you feel comfortable doing it. I always thought I would have started looking for work by now but there wasn’t any time…or so I thought. I think if I had made the time, it would have happened. So make time, and choose the time that’s right for you! If you have any advice, we would love to hear it in the comments below!

Enjoy fall everyone and I’ll keep you updated on my journey through the job application process!

For those of you who are curious… here are some other themes I identified during my search:

  • Be patient
  • Look and think outside the box
  • Network and make connections.
  • Let people know you are looking for work (colleagues, friends, etc.)
Posted in All, Jobs and Careers, Kingston, Professional Development, Transitioning Tagged with: , , , ,
One comment on “What time is the ‘right time’? On the timing of your job search
  1. Colette says:

    Perfect follow up to Career Week. Thanks Amanda

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  1. […] of different angles. We’ve covered Career Week that took place in mid-October, Amanda wrote on timing your job search; and Vanessa on how to choose your dream job. In a nutshell, we’ve been writing about how to find […]

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