You should start looking for jobs in January (the start of your last semester). Hospitals have "New Grad Nurse Residency Programs". They tend to hire EARLY like Jan/Feb, so if you wait too late, you may not get the positions you may want! I applied in January, and I've interviewed for Neuro Step-Down & ED at WakeMed main campus, Duke University Hospital (ER) and I still have more with WakeMed, Duke, & Vidant. The bigger hospital residency programs are more competitive, but there will be lots of hospitals recruiting your class on a set day with the nursing programs. Internal applicants tend to have better shots at getting what they want, so if you already work at a hospital, talk to the nurse manager of the unit you will be applying too. By now, you should have an idea of where you want to work.
BIG KEY POINT:
* Pick your preceptorship according to which "specialty" you want to work! Don't pick a L&D preceptorship if you want to work in the ICU.
FYI UPDATE: I've accepted a job at Duke University Hospital (Medical Step-down).