Getting Started Job Search Tips

10 Biggest Job Search Mistakes of New College Grads

Written by Peter Jones

Even though it can seem daunting to enter the job force immediately after college, and though the market is tougher than it ever has been for entry-level hires, recent grads are actually among those most likely to land a job this year.

Here are 10 common mistakes that can get in your way during your first real job search, and beyond.

1. Being too passive

The trick is to be proactive. The days of being recruited without having to look are long gone. Those who utilize their network to every possible extent and really do everything in their power to get hired, are the ones who will be rewarded first and best.

2. Being too internet-centric

Thousands upon thousands of candidates just like you are posting on job search boards and sending in their resumes to online applications. The only way to distinguish yourself and actually be considered for these jobs is to get out and get networking. Human connections are key.

3. Being too insular

Think outside the box when building your network. Consider asking generations above you for help. You never know who will be the key to get you through the door.

4. Being too general

If you’re not customizing your resume to each position, you’re crazy. Yes, it will take a bit of extra time, but the preparation will be worth it should you make it to the interview phase. And without showing each hiring manager or HR rep that you are precisely suitable for this particular position, you hardly stand a chance at getting your resume through the first skim.

5. Using the wrong sites

Social networking is one thing. Professional networking is another. If you’re relying on Facebook and Twitter only for your connection-building purposes, you’re missing a huge part of the picture. Make a platform for yourself on professional networking sites as well. It may not be as fun, but it will likely prove so much more useful.

6. Not following up

If you don’t follow up, you’ll miss a good chunk of opportunities. Don’t just send your resume and forget about it. If you want that job, make sure you get an interview for it. Hustle!

7. Setting the bar too high

You’re just out of college, all jazzed up, and out to find your dream job. But dream jobs can take decades to attain. You might not even really know what that would look like now. Focus on getting a good job now, and let perfection work itself out later. A little humility will get you a long way in the beginning of your career.

8. Being unprofessional

This includes your image: what you wear, how you conduct yourself, how you speak, and how you present yourself online. Give yourself an image makeover. Make sure your online presence is 100% respectable. And start acting like a grown-up… everywhere you go.

9. Not taking the interview seriously

Do your research. Don’t just swan in and expect them to hand you the job or internship without making you work for it. Learn about the company before hand and prepare for the interview. If you don’t, you’ll look like an amateur. And you certainly won’t get the job.

10. Not using the tools available to you

You have a career office for a reason. Use it. They won’t hand you a job on a silver platter, but they can set you up to be in a better position to land one yourself with a little hard work and preparation.

About the author

Peter Jones