I am graduating from college in May and want to start my job in July. I want to work in marketing for a large technology company. When should I start filling out applications and sending out resumes?
May is 3 months from now. Get busy planning and networking - not completing applications, or sending out un-targeted resumes to strangers!
1.) Put together a list of potential employers.
One of the best lists of technology companies is the Deloitte Technology Fast 500. Since your target is "large" companies, the FORTUNE 500 and Forbes 500 are also good places to look
2.) Identify contacts at those potential employers.
Check with your school's Career Center to see if they have contacts for you at Goldman Sachs and your other target employers. Hopefully, some alumni/ae of your school are working in those organizations now (or have worked there recently).
Then, contact them to find out
- What it's like to work for each of those employers. What is the "culture" for each like? How competitive? How collegial? How honest and ethical?
- How are people promoted? What is the criteria for promotion? If you are a woman or a minority, ask how many people in middle and senior management are women or minorities? Try to understand what the typical career paths are.
- Where do people work after they leave? How long to people normally stay there? Is it an "up or out" culture or do people stay for long periods?
- How did your contact get hired? What was the process? What process would they recommend as best/most effective, now, if they were in your shoes?
- What do people do in the typical "first job" in that organization? How long do people stay in that first job? What are the criteria for being promoted? What options are open to them for the "next" step in their careers within the organization?
- Can you visit your contacts in their offices to see what these places are like? You want to see where people starting work and what they do?
Don't let compensation be your only criteria for choosing an employer. A job is where you'll spend most of your time - at least 40 hours a week, probably 60 or 80 hours for investment banking. You don't want to be working in a place where your efforts aren't appreciated, or where you hate everyone you work with or for and everything you do.
3.) If your school doesn't have a good Career Center that can put you in touch with alumni/ae working in your target companies - or, even if it does - check out Ziggs.com to see if you can find someone at those companies who seems approachable. Also, of course, check LinkedIn, Ryze, Hi5, etc. to see if you have any contacts or friends connected with your target employers. Look for the same information as in # 2.
4.) Research the companies yourself. Yahoo Finance has EXCELLENT company and industry research resources. Also, go to PRNewsWire, BusinessWire, WetFeet, Vault, etc. to see what information they have.
5.) When you have completed the 2nd draft of your resume (with help from your school's Career Center, preferably), ask your contacts if they would review your resume to see if it's the right format and content for their employer. Customize your resume for each potential employer based on your research and the advice your contacts have given you.
6.) If it's appropriate for the organization (and it usually is), ask one or more of your contacts to take your resume to the appropriate hiring manager(s). I don't recommend having 2 people submit your resume to the same manager, but having 2 people submit to 2 different managers should be OK. Or, how ever many hiring managers are of interest to you.
7.) Your research in step # 2 and/or # 3 above should help you do the appropriate thing. Follow the processes recommended by your contacts, and you should be hired before Spring Break if your grades are decent.