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Job Searching Before Graduating: How Early?

Probably any social worker's favorite words: It depends...

Around this time one year ago, all of my friends who were graduating with me were already job searching. I felt like I was the only one not searching. We didn’t even graduate until May. I was so stressed, and I still had papers to write.

Anyway, so if you’re in grad school and getting ready to graduate and enter the mental health/social work field, you may be wondering how early do I job search?

What Even Is “Early”?

Earliness depends on who is asking. The week of graduation, one month ahead, three months ahead, six months ahead? I don’t know a single person who got a job just because they started searching way back in March when they graduated in May. However, I do know of some who were talking to agencies around May to let them know they were interested, and it helped them get the job once they got their ASW (first step to getting licensed in CA).

In terms of searching what jobs are out there and what they require, it’s probably never too early. It may help in looking for fair pay or updating your resume to align with the key words you might need for a given job.

Pros of Searching Early

  1. Update your resume (ie using key words from job postings)

  2. Potentially sooner start to your job (sooner pay!)

  3. Get your name out there! (ex. Calling ahead and asking when you can/should apply)

Cons of Searching (Too) Early

  1. The stress and pressure. Enough said, right? 

  2. You may face rejection if it is too early (ex. Some jobs in CA won’t accept an application if you have not started the process to get your ASW)

  3. Competing with everyone in the sudden influx of new grads. (You likely will still need to have applied when you graduate… so the ground still gets leveled)

All in All: It Depends

For me, I did not apply until May but I was among the first among my peers to get a job. Others started looking back in March but did not get hired until late summer.

Each person has different goals and different financial pressures. For some in my class, it was a race to get a job. For others, they were able to wait quite a while before applying for work because they did not need to. So some may not care to be early at all.

Also, each job has different requirements. Some jobs have requirements that others don’t (ex. Getting an ASW). At my job, I was able to start under a different title until I got my ASW, but at other agencies in CA, employees cannot start without an ASW.

So, it depends...

Job Prep in the Meantime

Regardless, prep for the job search in the meantime…

  1. Update the old resume

  2. Look up interview questions

  3. Research the places you will be applying to

  4. Check to see your interview clothes fit?

  5. Network with other social workers

  6. Phone other social workers for prep (ie interview process)

  7. Get recommendation letters

Thanks For Reading!

Please let me know what kind of articles you’d like to see in the future!Check me out on Instagram @eagersocialworker for post updates!

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