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I received a partial funding offer from my graduate school, so I am looking for a summer job to hopefully supplement the rest of the money I'll be needing next year.


My problem is this, all the summer student jobs I am applying for run terms like May-Sept. Obviously they would be fine for a student staying in  area for school, but I am going to be moving. The city I am moving to (Montreal) is new to me, and I would like to have a couple of weeks to get settled in and get everything figured out (this is also be my first time living alone).


So "lying" about availability to say, September 5th, on an application (when I'm planning to move around August 20th) isn't a big deal, right?


Am I over-thinking it or what.. Do any of you have any experience with this kind situation?

The other thing is, the jobs I am applying for (archival work in museums) are exactly the field of work I'd like to pursue after graduation, so I'd like good references, etc.




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I was going to say "Go ahead and lie and skip out early if you don't care about burning bridges," until I got to your last line.


I don't want to jump to conclusions here so I'll ask first: When would you tell them that you can't finish your term?


Option 1: Tell them during your first week and make them immediately wonder why they hired you?


Option 2: Tell them at the end of the term ("Actually I'm only staying until next week!") and leave a sour taste in their mouths?


Option 3: Tell them when you get the job offer and negotiate for an earlier end date. If you're a good candidate they might have flexibility or, e.g., you finish up before you go. If it doesn't work they can go to the next person on the list.



Personally I think it is a big deal, and a serious breach of professionalism, to lie about your availability and take anything but option 3.

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I'm in a similar boat for summer work, but when I applied for the May-Sept job I've accepted, I was up-front in my cover letter about my schedule. I think the fact that you're going to graduate school is actually a plus in hiring. In my situation, there are several people covering more-or-less the same kind of work, so the other people will have the opportunity to work a little extra and make more money at the end of the season when I'm leaving. There could be arrangements like that for you. I know it's tough sending out gobs of resumes and cover letters, but surely there is someone out there that wants you bad enough to let you bail out at the end of the season. Maybe if they know right away (in the cover letter), you can even propose to set a timeline for yourself that allows you to accomplish much of the work that you would have done in September ahead of time. Be proactive and creative.

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I agree with lewin in the sense that consciously "lying" about your availability from the get-go is a breach of professionalism. This is further compounded by the fact that you'd like to use this job in the future as a connection (references, jobs, etc.).


Ask yourself this: How would you feel if someone did this to you? You have to look through countless resumes, do numerous phone interviews, and create a project to work on for the established time only to not finish because the person you hired up and left 2 weeks early.


I don't think it hurts to apply to the job, but I do think it's wrong to intentionally deceive your hiring manager. Is it possible for you to start a week earlier than listed + end a few days later than you want?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for the responses guys!

I agree with what you have said. If and when I get the job with the term ending in September, I will be up front about my intention to move away mid-August and negotiate something with them.

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