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How soon is too soon to start applying for jobs?

Discussion in 'Public Health Degrees (Masters and Doctoral)' started by BPW1088, Aug 7, 2015.

  1. BPW1088

    2+ Year Member

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    So, I'll be graduating with my master's in public health in December 2015. With that said, I'm very eager to get the ball rolling on the 'job hunt' process, and hope to secure a position well before my degree is conferred to me.

    This is not my first rodeo. I've held many full time, permanent jobs prior to graduate school, and am hoping to obtain a mid-level to manager level position. I've already begun exhausting job boards, connecting and building relationships with alumni from my program and firms that I would like to gain employment with after graduate school, and have even gone as far as applying to numerous positions and setting up informational interviews. The process has been slower than I had anticipated, so I was just wondering how far in advance will employers begin reviewing your materials and consider hiring you if you're the right person for the job? I should say that most of my interest lies in the private sector, i.e. working for government contractor firms and management consulting firms that contract out to CDC, NIH, DHHS, etc.
     
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  3. EpiMarie

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    As someone who just graduated in May 2015 and was lucky enough to have a job lined up before I graduated, I would suggest starting at least 3 months before you graduate. Based on the experiences of my cohort, those that waited late to start the job search (i.e., just before or after graduation) struggled to find jobs right away and some are still looking.

    The actual hiring process can take a while as well, which is why 2-3 months ahead isn't necessarily a long time. Plus, if you really are the right person for the job, most employers are willing to wait for a short period of time until you can come on.

    Good luck!
     
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  4. BPW1088

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    Thanks for your insight, @EpiMarie . Do you think it makes a difference that you're in a more specialized area, i.e. Epi, than I am. My concentration is more focused on global health, so I do not have a set of specific skills like you and other Epi/Biostats professionals have. I'm more interested in working in management consulting; working on projects, from project management to marketing/communications strategy.

    I mean while I do not have specific qualitative and quantitative research and analysis skills, I do have extensive experience in logistical coordination, marketing, communications and project management; all in the nonprofit health sector. Plus, my coursework has been mostly focused in MCH, sexual and reproductive health program planning, design and implementation, and health communication and social marketing -- reinforced through internships and past work experience. I don't know that smaller firms will hold off if other candidates with similar credentials are applying and can start sooner, that's what I fret.
     
  5. EpiMarie

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    I would say it's a general rule no matter what your concentration is. Considering global health can be a tougher job market than epi/biostats, the sooner you start, the better. When I stated "my cohort," I'm including those who graduated with degrees in environmental health, behavioral and community health, etc.

    I completely understand being uncertain given there are possibly hundreds of applicants who can start ASAP, but that shouldn't preclude you from applying. Employers should be able to see from your CV/resume (e.g., "Expected December 2015) that you will not have your degree for a few months. If it's an issue, and they need someone to start right away, they most likely won't contact you. I wouldn't worry about it too much.

    Plus, it could also be that some employers are hesitant to reach out to you this early since your graduation plans could easily change - delayed thesis/project, needing to retake a course, etc. So, once you get closer to that graduation date (2-3 months), they may be more willing to take a chance.

    Continue networking with individuals in firms you are interested in (especially if they graduated from your program). Although you certainly have experience, sometimes it takes many applications before you start receiving interviews, and jobs in global health can be competitive.
     
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  6. BPW1088

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