We have discussed in previous podcast episodes, videos, books, and blogs how to find a job, how to interview, or how to create the perfect resume. But when should you begin looking for a job? How early should you begin your outreach? How do you know if you are doing enough to find your dream job? And is it ever too early to accept an offer?
Many candidates accept the first offer extended to them due to “FOMO” or the “fear of missing out”. It’s imperative that you perform an honest self-assessment about your career, location, and personal goals, then compare that to the quality of opportunities you reasonably believe could be available to you. Seek wise and experienced counsel first and don’t let the decisions and aspirations of your peers be the sole guiding factor in your decision to accept a particular job.
If you plan to graduate in May, the job search will likely begin months in advance. Though it seems to fluctuate from year to year, it’s not uncommon for top students to accept offers in September or October that precede their graduation. Furthermore, standout interns are regularly offered positions upon completing an internship between their junior and senior years.
Hence, if you are wondering when you should begin your search as a new college graduate or career changer the answer is now! That doesn’t mean that if you don’t have a job yet, you aren’t meeting expectations. Perhaps you are looking for a specific type of firm or are rightfully concerned with finding a long-term home in the financial planning profession. We regularly communicate with top candidates who haven’t accepted a position as late as March or April- and it is okay.
Why the broad dispersion? There are a number of factors that impact when someone accepts a position such as studying for and passing the CFP exam, travel opportunities, and family dynamics to name a few. If you are looking for a specific type of firm in a specific location, it may take time to find the right opportunity.
Here are some helpful tips to help you navigate the “when” of your job search:
- Start early! Your resume should be updated and ready to present to firms before the beginning of your senior year or when you complete your certificate program. It’s never too early to begin networking with colleagues and potential employers. Networking should begin as soon as you join the financial planning program. This will lead to a refined understanding of the profession and a better idea of what opportunities might eventually be made available to you.
- Accept the right offer, not necessarily the first offer made to you. Some candidates find their “forever firm” on the first interview, but most do not. Accepting a position that isn’t the right fit too early in your career journey may be a mistake. Having wise mentors and a strong relationship with a knowledgeable academic advisor can help you navigate this decision.
- Make a list of target firms and begin your introductory outreach now. Some firms won’t be interested in committing at this point, but it demonstrates initiative and sincere interest.
- Attend every career fair, industry conference, and student/and or local FPA and NAPFA event you can.
- Make sure your program director and/or advisor understands what you are looking for at the beginning of your senior year. They can be a phenomenal resource in pointing you in the right direction.
- Leverage alumni! Look for firms with your university’s alumni on their team and reach out to them directly. Not only can it open the door to a potential job, you may find a mentor, or the person who will connect you with your first job. This should be done before Thanksgiving break.
- If you don’t have a job by the Holidays, look for an externship to gain additional exposure during the downtime.
- If you’re struggling to garner interest from firms, watch this video to get some ideas on how to set yourself apart.
- Ask for feedback from each person who interviews you and ask them if they know someone who might be hiring.
- Send your resume to New Planner Recruiting if you haven’t yet!
Finding the right fit requires patience, diligence, and a willingness to go above and beyond. If you’re an aspiring financial planner seeking an opportunity at a boutique financial planning firm, send us your resume! We would be happy to share our knowledge or connect you with one of the top-tier RIA clients we represent.
Check out our new podcast here for other ideas on finding the right fit, tips to get hired, and advice on how to succeed long-term as a financial planner.
You can also learn more about timing your search in Caleb’s new book: Finding Your Path - The Roadmap from Student to Successful Financial Planner