The average job search ranges between three to six months. Many experts consider looking for a job a full-time job in and of itself. For this reason, many students choose to focus their job search efforts after graduation while finishing summer school and choose continue in their part-time position or simply take a “survival job” through a temp agency until they are clearer on what they want.
For students seeking employment with large companies and government agencies that recruit on-campus, fall quarter is the best time to begin your search by participating in the Campus Interview Program. Keep in mind less than 25% of our students get jobs through this program. Many smaller firms or high demand industries will advertise through the Internet or through their professional networks closer to when they need to fill the position. For this reason, spring quarter is the time to start seriously looking at options and applying.
Many great experiences are volunteer or involve a small stipend or lump sum of money. It is possible, however, to negotiate for salary as you become more productive to your employer or agency. In the meantime, will you be able to juggle a part-time job while volunteering for experience?
Programs can be part-time for one quarter, full-time for summer, or year round part-time or full-time commitments. Usually the competition for certain government, national or international opportunities is less during the school year versus the summer when the majority of people look. Most students find the longer they stay with one employer the more responsibility and training they will receive.
Carefully plan the quarter or summer in which you want to begin your first internship experience. Will you have sufficient time to devote to a volunteer or internship experience? How much flexibility will you need to handle your commitments in and outside of class? Freshman and Sophomores usually begin with volunteer, part-time jobs, or on-campus experiences to get the flavor of the type of responsibilities and skills they would like to use in their internship later on.
Do you want to stay in Santa Barbara or will you also consider opportunities in Sacramento, San Diego, Washington D.C., New York, Europe or Japan? It may be possible to do several internships in the local area with proper planning. Many students who start locally and build their portfolio of skills and experiences are then able to market themselves for paid summer internships outside the Santa Barbara area.
In other words, what career areas do you want to know more about? Are you thinking about the fields of advertising, accounting, or personnel administration? You may need to use the Career Resource Room at Career Services to research several areas before you determine your preference. What skills do you enjoy using and which do you want to develop further (i.e., writing, public speaking, computer programming)? Finally, is there a particular type of organization that interests you (i.e., banking, retail, health care)?