The best months for new grads to apply for jobs

For newly minted college graduates who don't have a job lined up after snaring their diploma, getting a resume in order and looking for openings is a top priority. But when is really the best time to begin submitting those job applications?

According to new data from job site ZipRecruiter, summer is prime time for workers looking for entry-level jobs that require a college degree. The report found more than 80 percent of the entry-level jobs posted in the fastest growing fields had the most openings later in the summer.

In addition, certain months were better for seeking certain jobs, depending on the number of postings in a given field.

"The key takeaways in terms of timing on when you should apply is sort of knowing that each individual industry operates slightly differently. I think particularly students have the tendency to compare [their search] with what's happening with their peers," ZipRecruiter Chief Economist Cathy Barrera told CBS MoneyWatch in an interview.

Barrera said comparing yourself to classmates who have already landed a job isn't wise because each industry has its own characteristics.

For example, the report found that in 2017, teacher jobs and inside-sales positions kicked off early in the summer, with May having the largest number of such postings. Engineers, assistant managers and administrative assistants had the most postings in June. For customer service and marketing jobs, July is the best month to look for openings. 

With the most recent job report from the Department of Labor showing unemployment has fallen to 3.9 percent, college grads are entering the best job market since the financial crisis. The report found these fast-growing professions offer some of the best entry-level opportunities for recent grads, based on the biggest jumps in postings compared with April of last year:

  1. Customer experience: + 1,367%

  2. Business development rep: +1,210%

  3. Outside sales: +1,156%

  4. Public relations: +1,013%

  5. Account coordinator: +840%

The report also looked at which metro areas were the best places for recent college grads to start their careers, based on factors including unemployment rate, commute time, median recent grad salary and median rent. Midsize cities across the U.S. took the top five slots.

1. Omaha, Nebraska with a median salary of $47,100 for recent grads, median rent of $1,311 per month and an average commute time of 18 minutes

2. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota with a median salary of $51,200 for recent grads, a median rent of  $1,655 per month and an average commute time of 21 minutes

3. St. Louis, Missouri with a median salary of $47,000 for recent grads: $47,000, a median rent of $1,185 per month and an average commute of 23.9 minutes

4. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with a median salary of $46,300 for recent grads, a median rent of $1,094 per month and an average commute of 22.9 minutes

5. Milwaukee, Wisconsin  with a median salary of $48,400 for recent grads, a median rent of $1,474 per month and an average commute of 21.3 minutes

Said Barrera: "I definitely think that in this tight labor market where there's lots of competition for workers and talent, that it's a good time to be looking for opportunities and be open and ready."