10 Job Search Mistakes New College Grads Make

Freshly out of college and full of dreams, recent college graduates are hardly prepared to face the grim and often disappointing reality of the job market. Most have some experience working at internships or summer jobs, but setting out to find a real full-time job is a hard nut to crack. Perhaps that’s why they make mistakes which successfully ruin their chances at landing those jobs they’re really after. Here are 10 deadly job search mistakes we see new college graduates make over and over again.

1. Applying for all jobs that exist

Recent graduates are often tempted to apply for every job available on the market, but if you think about it for a moment, you see that this is just a waste of time. It’s much more productive to focus on jobs for which you’ve got the knowledge and qualifications. Remember that each job you apply to requires you to customize your resume a little – showcasing those skills that are most valuable to the employers.

2. Lack of professionalism

Graduates are often insufficiently prepared for employers’ scrutiny. To make the best impression, make sure to sanitize all your internet activity and profiles – they will be checked by recruiters interested to get to know who you are as a professional. Revamp your Facebook profile and don’t think privacy settings are enough – get rid of any photos that can set you in a bad light. Another thing to remember are voice mail greetings – make sure yours is serious.

3. Not customizing resumes

Another common mistake of graduates is that they send the same resume to every single employer. Your resume is supposed to showcase your expertise and talents – so instead of compiling a list of courses, degrees or your part-time and summer jobs, use this opportunity to make a strong statement about yourself.

Show who you are and who you want to be in 5 or 10 years. Make sure that your resume states clearly what you offer to the employer – definitely not what you want to get from them. Focus and your resume can become an effective marketing tool.

4. Hoping for too much

Graduates have their heads full of dreams and are usually on the lookout for a dream job, missing out on other interesting opportunities that can open their eyes to the professional world and grant them passage to a career they want.

I today’s difficult economy, the first job is extremely important – you’ll learn a lot and you’ll meet a lot of people who can help you later in your career. Waiting for an ideal job is a waste of your time – it’s better to keep an open mind and focus on job descriptions instead. If you spot an offer that is similar to what you’re after, and it offer decent pay, jump in and don’t fuss over features it doesn’t have.

5. Using only the internet

A recent MonsterCollege survey unveiled that 78 percent of college job-seekers consider networking as a significant factor in their job searches. Despite this fact, many make the mistake of sticking to the internet and completely ignoring the offline reality.

Imagine the following situation – there are thousands of candidates applying to the same job or posting their resume to the same job boards. How will you stand out? Your differentiator will be your connections and opportunities you’ll take when networking yourself into your dream company.

6. No company research

One way to manage the stress associated with a job interview is to carefully research the company in question. Still, many graduates fail to do that and come to their interviews unprepared. Knowing where you’re going will not only help you to determine whether you’re a right fit for the company, but it will also give your lots of valuable knowledge that will help you to answer any questions you might face in the interview room.

7. Asking no questions during the interview

Many graduates are convinced that asking no questions at the end of the interview is a sign of their intelligence and qualifications. They’re wrong. Showing interest is something recruiters appreciate, so if you refrain from asking any questions about the company, they might easily write you off as not so enthusiastic about the offer. Come with some questions prepared and show recruiters that you’re a focused and passionate professional.

8. Lack of a wide professional network

This is something not many graduates consider, but it can significantly help them in landing that first job that will direct them towards their dream career. Remember that your parents, grandparents and friends all have their own professional networks and can easily help you in getting in touch with an employer who interests you. Reach out to people who know you or with whom you’ve worked in the past – networking is only limited by your imagination.

9. No real-world experience

This is a serious problem. In the past, graduates would apply for entry-level jobs with a firm intention of gaining professional experience, but today a graduate is expected to have at least a year of professional experience on their back. Entry-level positions are harder to land and the competition is really serious – so make sure to participate in internships, part-time jobs, volunteer roles, as well as project leadership roles before you start applying for jobs.

10. Forgetting to follow-up

This is a detail that shows a lot about your manners and professional courtesy. Many graduates fail to follow-up after a job interview with a simple thank you note – its just 5 minutes of your time, but it can make a tremendous difference in how recruiters remember you. It can also become a valuable differentiator. Ultimately, sending a thank you note is showing your appreciation for the recruiter’s time and efforts.

Making sure that you avoid all the mistakes listed above, you’ll be on your way to seriously improving your chances at landing the job of your dreams.

Contributed by Monica Wells



This article was contributed by Monica Wells, a Human Resources specialist at BizDb. She passionately gives recruitment advice to freshmen and helps them land a job. She is also very enthusiastic about new technologies, internet and anything digital believing in their huge potential to empower individuals.

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