Congratulations you finally graduated college! You are probably feeling a sense of relief to have graduated and excitement to start a new chapter in your life. Your excitement carries over into the beginning of your job search but quickly fades away when the weeks pass by with no interview or job offers. So what are you doing wrong? Here is a list of common mistakes recent college graduates make in their job search. Are you guilty?
Not thoroughly reading the job description and application instructions
When searching for a job, the job description gives you the first insight into what the company is all about. Even the way in which they are advertising the position can tell you a lot about the culture of that company. The job description also can be viewed as directions in the application process. If you forget to provide them with everything they want the way they want, they may overlook a qualified candidate simply because they didn’t follow the direction – which could mean you aren’t detailed-oriented.
Selling yourself short
The job-search process can be confusing — seemingly entry-level jobs are now asking for one to two years of experience. The good news is that most hiring managers count internship experience and summer jobs as just the experience they’re looking for. If you sold knives or promoted gym memberships while you were a personal trainer, you can count that as sales experience. Were you the shift supervisor at a fast-food restaurant, resident assistant of your dorm or captain of the school baseball team? These positions show demonstrated leadership ability. These are desirable traits in potential hires.
Relying Solely on the Internet
In a MonsterCollege survey, 78 percent of college job-seeker respondents said networking was a factor in their job searches. Brad Karsh, president of JobBound, says, “When thousands of candidates are applying to the same jobs online and posting their resume to the same job boards, candidates need to stand out by making connections and networking their way into a company.” Job boards are an important tool, but Karsh says new grads also need to focus energy on networking
Failing to Follow Up
It’s not enough to send resumes and pray the phone rings, Johnson says. She cautions job seekers not to expect their resumes to be discovered in that big black online hole. “Hustle to follow up,” she says.
Setting Expectations Too High
Johnson says new graduates too often focus on looking for the perfect job, instead of a first job. “Especially in this economy, the first job should be about finding a position where you’ll learn a great deal, you’ll be super busy and you’ll be surrounded by lots of people,” she says
Not having someone proofread all submitted materials
Making spelling and grammatical errors is the easiest mistake to avoid in the whole job-search process — proofread, proofread, proofread. And be sure another set of eyes sees your application materials prior to submission. Often applicants work so hard on a well-written cover letter, they miss that they’ve changed tenses in the middle of a paragraph or used the wrong kind of ‘there.’ Take the extra 30 minutes to find someone you trust to read through your submitted materials. It’s the first impression you’re making on a hiring manager, and you want it to be a good one.
Not defining the scope of your search
There are hundreds of ways to qualify a job search, but the first should be defining what is important to you as the applicant. Does being in a certain city or state take top billing in your book? Is working for a nonprofit a must? Is accounting the field you just have to be in? Identifying these guidelines early will make the actual act of finding a job less overwhelming as it will narrow the scope of your search.
Not helping employers understand your past experience
Your responsibilities at past positions are familiar and easy for you to explain, but would a complete stranger be able to interpret and understand what you’ve included on your résumé? To help, use numerical values to show your successes. Numbers are a more universal language when it comes to showing growth and results delivered. Did you save the company $175 a month by researching different telecommunication vendors or increase sales in the shoe department 3 percent during your six month tenure by promoting matching handbags? Whatever the experience may be, quantify it when you can to show added value and success.
Not Creating Wide Networks
Career expert Liz Ryan says that your parents’, grandparents’ and friends’ networks can help you in your post graduation job search. “Don’t be shy — reach out to any long-ago Scoutmaster, choir director, or babysitting or leaf-raking boss,” she says. “There’s no statute of limitations on networking.”
Not Creating Customized Resumes
“Don’t send out any resumes that simply list your courses, the degree you’ve earned, and your part-time and summer jobs,” Ryan says. “Use this opportunity to make a stronger statement about what you want to do with your adult life.” And according to Jay Block, author of 101 Best Ways to Land a Job in Troubled Times, younger job seekers often haven’t thought about what they have to offer an employer (as opposed to what they want to get from one). With this mindset, they create resumes that are “boring biographies” instead of effective marketing tools.
Not customizing your cover letter for every job application
Cover letter writing is not a one size fits all endeavor. Each job application needs a tailored cover letter to accompany your résumé. Cover letters are your opportunity to expand on specific experiences that make you well-suited for the position in a way that you cannot on a résumé. Talk about your leadership style in your past position or how a certain scenario led to an increased ability to manage your time. Demonstrate your confidence and explain why you’re the best candidate for the job. Be direct but professional and reference the job description. Hiring managers love to see when applicants explain how they are uniquely qualified for specific tasks or responsibilities mentioned in the job posting.
Not being persistent
It’s important to be persistent in your search. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people in your network and let them know you’ve just graduated and are looking for a full-time position. Most people received a helping hand at one time or another in their career and would love to pay it forward, especially for poised, mature young professionals looking for their first job. The more of yourself you put into the search, the better your results will be.
Not showing your personality or being unprofessional
Hiring managers are looking for skill and ability, but they’re really looking for the right person. Often skills can be taught, but the person that shows they will fit into the company culture best is going to be given preference. So don’t be afraid to be yourself and show your personality. It’s just as vital that the company is a good fit for you, so ask questions and do your research.
Not having an open mind
Chances are your first job is not going to be your last. Most of the time, landing your “dream job” right out of college is just that, a dream. You’ll have to put in your dues and work your way up, and it will make it that much more rewarding when you get there. So when looking for your first job, keep an open mind. You’ll learn a lot about what you need and want professionally early in your career, so don’t be afraid to stretch the limits of your search. Considering a cross-country move? Thinking of working abroad? Do it now while you’re young – you won’t always have the same freedom that you do as a recent college grad.
Lists Originally posted on CareerBuilder.com and Monster.com. Follow the links below to read the original articles.