Tip Tuesday: Differences in Industries for Job Searching

As students are coming in starting to ask about searching for a job or internship, there’s one piece of information I find myself continuously repeating during career advising appointments. Every career industry and field recruits candidates both in different ways and on different timelines. It is important to understand the differences for a variety of reasons.

Some industries recruit students early in the academic year. Many organizations within finance, accounting, and consulting, currently have opportunities posted and will shortly begin interviewing candidates for both full-time jobs and internships for summer 2016. A lot of these companies have a structure where they already know what they will be hiring for in the future. For example, an accounting firm may know that they will be hiring 20, entry level full-time jobs in the fall. Since they are certain they will have these openings, they can go ahead and begin recruiting to fill these positions early. This means some students might be interviewing and accepting job offers this fall and they will not start working until after graduation.

On the other hand, many other career areas function on what we call an “immediate hire” timeline. This means that they are not bringing in an entire new group of entry level employees each year, but they will recruit as needed when employees leave and positions open. For example, this is how organizations in nonprofit, marketing, education, and many other fields operate. During the fall you may see a job opening at a nonprofit organization that you’d like to work for, but the way they operate they’re hiring for someone to start immediately, not in May after graduation. For this reason, depending on your industry, you might not start your job search until mid-spring semester.

There are also many differences in the ways that these organizations recruit. Companies in finance, accounting, consulting, and others have entire departments focused on human resources and recruiting. They often have the budget and resources to travel around to different colleges to recruit, and if you recall from information above–they’re looking to recruit a large group of entry level employees. So, it makes sense for them to spend the time and money it takes to visit campuses for career expos, information sessions, and other opportunities to get in front of students and share information about their opportunities.

If we go back to our immediate hire example of a nonprofit, depending on the size of the organization, they may have just a few people who work in a human resources capacity. As most of them only hire as positions open up, it is not necessary to have a large number of staff dedicated to recruiting. For this reason, it also does not make as much sense for these organizations to spend a large amount of resources visiting campuses to recruit when they might not have any open positions at the moment.

Are you following here? A lot of this boils down to finding out what the recruiting timeline and structure is for the career field that you are interested in, and this is something that a career advisor or mentor in the industry can help you determine.

Now, if you are going into an area that operates on an immediate hire timeline, this doesn’t mean you are off the hook this fall with your job search! This means you can spend the fall and early spring developing a strategy for your search: where you want to go geographically, what organization are you targeting, what specific types of positions are you interested in? You should also use this time to reach out and develop connections at organizations and companies of interest to learn about them. For example, you might connect with an alumni at a marketing agency this fall and while you cannot yet apply for jobs there, you can learn more about the company, the types of opportunities they have, etc. Then, as positions in the spring open for you to apply to, you have already done your research and you have a contact at the organization.

So, if you happen to be seeking opportunities in an immediate hire field, do not get upset about the fact that some of your friends might have job offers right now. Alternatively, if you are in an industry where you are currently applying, interviewing, and hopefully receiving job offers, do not make your other friends feel panicked that they should be doing the same. Everyone’s search is different and is really dependent on your specific interests and circumstances.

If you are looking to learn more, set up a career advising appointment today and your career advisor can help you to navigate the search!

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