Q: Should I still cold apply now or wait till spring to go for experienced hire (more time for networking)?
This is a bit tricky as if you get rejected now you won’t likely be able to apply before 12 months.
Still, unless you know there are going to be openings in the Spring with a preferential channel, I would apply now. The reason is that your risk to have most of the slots filled for your target office.
One thing you may attempt is to apply now and still network to get a referral post application. This is more difficult to get (the person referring you won’t get any bonus so incentives are lower) and may not have an effect if your application has already been screened, but no harm in trying it.
For more info on how to get referrals, you can check the article below:
▶ How to Get an MBB Referral