When to Start Applying for Jobs

When to Start Applying for Jobs | Tips & Best Timelines | Resume.com

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Knowing the best time to start applying for jobs can help increase your chances of getting hired and ease the transition from college to the workforce or from one job to another. Getting a job at the right time can help you reduce gaps in your resume and provide stability in your career. This article shares some tips to create a timeline for when to start applying for a job that will fit your plans.

What is the standard timeline for applying to jobs?

In order to give different employers enough time to go through the selection and hiring process, you can start applying for jobs three or four months before you hope to begin a new position. The amount of time it takes to get a job can be influenced by many different factors including your location and the economy. You may need to start much earlier when applying for a job in a highly competitive field, while you may be able to start later when seeking positions that urgently need applicants.

Why is it important to apply for a job early?

It is important to apply for jobs early because it helps you align your career goals with your personal needs and can give you the time to seriously consider a variety of job options. Between waiting for a position to open up to taking the time to schedule interviews, several variables can delay the process of getting a new job. Starting a few months before you hope to be employed gives you the flexibility to wait for multiple job offers or spend extra time researching possible employers.

Best application timelines for different types of jobs

Here is a list of recommended timelines for applying for various jobs:

Unadvertised jobs

If you are interested in working at a particular company, you may consider submitting a resume and asking about when they will be hiring entry-level employees. Once you know when an opportunity might be available, you can submit an official application right away. Indicating your interest in working with a company as early as possible and checking in when they post a job shows that you are dedicated and organized and can make you a more attractive applicant.


Applying for internships can be a great way to learn about a company, especially during college. They can help you adjust to a company’s culture and make professional connections that could lead to a full-time job later on. Many internships have specific yearly deadlines that a candidate needs to apply by, so it is important to be mindful of the application requirements.

Executive positions

Seeking a high-level executive position can be a more complicated and lengthy process than looking for an entry-level position. Executive positions are generally more competitive and have an in-depth hiring process that involves several interviews and salary negotiation. Many people seeking an executive-level position begin applying for jobs up to a year in advance of when they hope to transition to their new position.


People interested in a job in education such as teaching should be mindful of how the school year influences the hiring process. In order to be prepared for the beginning of the school year in fall, many schools hire new teachers in the spring or summer. Tutoring services and other education-based businesses also have an increased demand for staff in order to support students.


Many healthcare professionals, such as nurses and general practitioners, are in high demand and may find a job after only one or two months after applying. More competitive positions in surgery or other specializations may have an extensive application process that takes place over several months.


Many business organizations have training programs that begin in the early fall so that they can have new recruits in place by the beginning of the next year. People interested in a competitive career in business should begin looking for internships or development programs several months before they plan to enter the workforce. Business students looking to enter the workforce often aim to have a job offer by late autumn or early spring of their final year.


Working in finance can often revolve around the tax season and economic fluctuations. Accounting firms usually hire in the winter in order to be prepared for the spring tax season. Students looking to work in finance can often benefit from pursuing internships during college and applying for jobs early in the year.


Jobs in communications, such as journalism or social media, often have a faster hiring process in order to meet the needs of their organization. Although you may have a higher chance of being hired quickly for jobs in communication compared to other industries, you can still begin the job search process before submitting an official application. Showing interest in a company early and being clear about when you will be available to work with them can be a good tactic for indicating your interest early on and setting up a timeline for your new job.

Tips for applying to jobs later

When you are not able to apply to a job as early as you would like, you can still increase your chances of getting a job by following these tips:

Apply to more positions

If you were delayed in starting to apply for jobs, consider sending out extra applications each day to increase your chances of getting an interview. Applying to as many different companies as possible can help you find an employer that can offer you a job that suits your timeline.

Follow up

Following up on your application is especially important if you submitted it later than planned. Touching base with someone at the company about your application about a week after submitting it can help you stand out among other applicants. It is appropriate to follow up once, but if an employer does not reach out you should move on to other positions.

Have an open mind

When applying for jobs, have an open mind about what type of positions you apply for. Looking for jobs in a variety of fields and companies can increase your chances of finding a position that will let you start work quickly. Consider different ways to gain experience while still making progress in your desired career.

Refine your application

Make sure that your application is tailored to each position and has been edited and proofread. The quality of your resume is even more important when you are applying to a position later than most other applicants. If you take extra time to apply, your application materials should reflect some additional effort.

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