Part-time summer, full-time fall
April 9, 2009 9:06 AM   Subscribe

I'm graduating college next month and thinking about getting a part time job for the summer, then looking to get a full time job come September/October. Should I do this?

Here's the skinny: I'm graduating from Fordham University, with a 3.7 GPA and a BS in Business Administration.

I'm planning on moving back home (in Putnam County, NY) for a few months.

Although I've been looking and applying for jobs, I haven't found any that I am both qualified for and are what I want. I don't think I'm being that picky, but, the last thing I want to do is start working full time immediately after four hard years at a job I'm not thrilled with.

Instead, I've been thinking of getting more of a standard part time summer job, whether it be in an office, as a receptionist, retail, childcare, whatev, which will allow me to make some money, but still have some summer to myself. I have a lot of personal projects and things that I'd like to work on before I'm doing the 9-5.

I'm banking on the idea that it will be easier to get a good, full-time job come the fall, because most recent college grads will have stopped looking. However, I don't know if this was ever true or is just a rumor, or if it will stand up in this economy.

Questions include:

Is this a good idea? Have you done this or know someone who has? Will future employers look down on me for not jumping right into the full time workforce? Will more jobs be available? Will there be less competition?

Any thoughts or ideas will help!
posted by firei to Work & Money (12 answers total)
Yes, you should do it! This is one of those rare opportunities in life that will allow you to enjoy yourself. Take advantage of it!

Also, the old saying that it's easier to find a job once you already have one (even if it's a "crappy" one) has been true in my life over and over again.
posted by sickinthehead at 9:11 AM on April 9, 2009

If you can hold off on entering the "real world", do so--I sort of took a gap year between college and my first real job, and it was great. I had to work a lot of part time jobs, but I loved having odd jobs at odd hours and time to discover myself.

That said, I'm pretty sure it's just a rumor that there are more "real jobs" available in the fall--hiring schedules are not cyclical like the academic year. Yes, it might be harder when you're competing with all the other recent graduates, but the opposite (that it's therefore easier in the fall) is not necessarily true. If you can wait until you find the right job for you (and take it even if it pops up in July), I think you will be happier.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 9:20 AM on April 9, 2009

Best answer: I agree that there is nothing wrong with this idea, though there are two things you should think about doing that will help make this "summer" job not turn into a job you have to keep for 9 months while you look for something in your field:
1. Start looking and applying for your full time job pretty aggressively at least by July if you would like to be employed by September or so. Applying, interviewing and hiring often takes a pretty long time in the best economic circumstances.
2. If your work experience could use a little polishing, try to select a summer job that is at least a little related to the field you would like to work in or will give you some sort of marketable experience. That doesn't mean it can't be fun, but its always nice to have one more good resume point and decent reference when you are looking for your first job.

I don't think employers will think poorly of you for doing this, but I also don't necessarily think the competition will be less come fall.
posted by mjcon at 9:21 AM on April 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'm casting my vote with everyone above, but would urge you to be cautious. Taking a gap year has been pretty popular in the past, but with the economy and job market continuing to sour (especially in New York City), I doubt a few months will be enough of a wait for things to pick up. (Especially if you want to work on Wall St. or Madison Ave.)

If your personal projects are business-related, why not use them to distinguish yourself when you do return to the job market? As someone who has interviewed entry level candidates in the past, I would be a lot more supportive of the graduate who took a year off to start her own custom kite making business instead of the candidate who sat on the sidelines while babysitting and waiting on tables. Risk invites reward!
posted by gushn at 9:38 AM on April 9, 2009

My post-college job search sucked. It took me a year to get a job with a salary. I mostly did crappy temp jobs in the mean time, and I started looking for a "real job" in the winter of my last year of college.

I sincerely hope you have better luck than I had, but it would be worth your while to start looking for a real job right away, but have a "summer job" in the meantime. You don't know how long the job search will last, and the sooner you get started, the better.
posted by JuiceBoxHero at 11:12 AM on April 9, 2009

Agreed with those above. It may take you 4 months of summer to find a full-time job anyway, so jump at whatever you can in the meantime. In terms of relaxation...I worked two part-time jobs for 4 months after graduation that were not demanding at all and it was a load of fun and provided free time for pet projects.
posted by cranberrymonger at 11:45 AM on April 9, 2009

Traveling and relaxing is great, but as someone who knows many struggling recent college grads, I would advise taking any good job you are offered. The market sucks, even people with BS degrees in CS, and people with specific skills are having to work barista jobs right now. If it's full-time, then you can use your paid time off (most FT jobs have that) to travel. I have friends who were looking for nearly a year before they found a permanent job.

Start looking for a real job now. It may take you that long to find one.
posted by fructose at 12:14 PM on April 9, 2009

I'm with JuiceBoxHero on this -- I'm a senior in college as well and I started my job search last fall, coinciding with the on-campus recruitment schedule. Of 30 applications and 15 on-site/final round interviews, I received one offer. I consider myself extremely lucky. Many of my classmates did not fare as well.

Relaxing and working a part-time job for the summer sounds fine, but if you intend to be working at a full-time job come fall, you should realize that your other part-time job this summer must be a dedicated job search. Your theory that the fall will be a better time to look doesn't really hold up because, as I mentioned above, for many companies the fall is the recruitment time for recent or soon-to-be college grads. There may be more opportunities (job fairs, etc), but there will be plenty of people applying with you.

I'd suggest getting to know the people in your school's career center very well now, before graduating, so you'll still have access to their resources when you decide to start your search in earnest.
posted by telegraph at 1:24 PM on April 9, 2009

I would be reluctant to hire you after your treating yourself to a soft summer. Going off on an adventure fine, running home for a break because college was too much like hard work, no. So, if you want to do it, find a good new label for it!

In any case, I think you are better off job-hunting now. This is the traditional time for people specifically looking for new graduates. Later you will be competing for jobs with people who have been graduated a year or more.
posted by Idcoytco at 2:32 PM on April 9, 2009

At this point you may get lucky if you manage to find a part time job of any kind, much less a full timer.
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:40 PM on April 9, 2009

I'm kind of in the same boat--that is, I'm a senior who will be graduating in a couple of months. I've been doing some serious job hunting since Christmas. I lost count of how many I applied for, but I have only gotten two interviews so far, and no offers. For my major (English) and the jobs I'm looking at, I consider that pretty damn good, but I make it a policy to not talk to other students about applying--it could get very nerve-wracking, so it could be different for other people. But yeah, I have a feeling that I'm going to wind up working at a temp agency or something for a while before I get an actual job.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that your plan sounds OK--to me, anyway. In fact, it might even be better since the only jobs that might be available will be part-time jobs. But search, search, search in the meantime. You never know--you might find something you like so much that you want to ditch the summer plan.
posted by bookwibble at 7:57 PM on April 12, 2009

Response by poster: Just in case anyone was wondering how this worked out - I was applying for jobs since January. In the beginning of May, I got an interview for a part time job through a recruiting agency. Things worked out really well, because the recruiting agency liked me so much that they decided to hire me, as did the initial company I interviewed for. I won't have the most relaxed summer, as both positions add up to full time, but, money in the pocket is good for now.

I start tomorrow! So, thanks for everyone's help and advice.
posted by firei at 6:48 PM on May 25, 2009

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