If you're graduating from college as a member of the Class of 2014 and you haven't already begun your job search - or already landed a position to start after you graduate - you may be at a disadvantage.
Much like the "early admission" process at the beginning of your college days, expressing early interest in a profession, company and a role can give you an edge over the competition, says Rick Gillis, an author, career consultant and resume expert.
Ahead of the Tech Jobs Curve
"Estimates vary, but I'd say there's about a million and a half new graduates every year -- from community colleges to career certificates to Bachelor's degrees to Ph.D.s.," Gillis says. "The job market gets flooded and with every passing semester even more competition enters the market. Getting your resume and your search out in front of the crowd gives you an advantage," he says.
Mark O'Toole, managing director of public relations and content marketing for HB Agency says as an employer, he'd encourage any college graduate to begin their search as early as possible to gain an advantage. In fact, he says, his firm began searching to fill an open position early this year, and has already made an offer to a candidate who'll be graduating later this spring.
"The woman we've hired applied with our firm early, and took time over her spring break to meet with us and interview," he says. The candidate stood out for his agency because of her early application, and because she was willing to make the effort before others in her class, he says.
"Because she showed such interest and initiative, we were able to spend much more time with her and really be sure she was the right fit for the role, rather than during the late spring timeframe when we get bombarded with resumes, candidates and interviews," he says.
The Early Bird Gets the Best Candidate
And it's not just candidates who are beginning their job searches before diplomas are even handed out; many organizations begin the recruiting, screening and hiring process almost a full year in advance when looking to fill entry-level roles, says Dan Black, Americas director of recruiting for EY (formerly known as Ernst & Young).
"Sooner is really better; especially in the professional services sector, where we operate, most of the folks in our industry do the bulk of campus recruiting in the fall," Black says.
"We do virtually all of our hiring based on the efforts from the previous year, so when spring comes the job market and the number of available openings can be anemic," Black says.