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Job Search Mistakes that Hurt College Grads

job search mistakes, college grads

No luck yet, huh? As recent grads, we all have had to go through the process of finding a job; you’re not alone. We are still feeling the effects of the scary economic downturns of the past few years, but things are starting to get better, bit by bit. Employment rates, for one, have been on a steady rise. This means employers are willing to hire again, and graduates have to use the ‘bad economy’ excuse less and less. But as a recent graduate, it also means you have to be on your A-game if you are to land a position at any company because there are still plenty of others just like you, all gunning for limited positions.

You have to have tough skin if you are going to endure the process to its successful end.  That said, here are a few job search mistakes that college graduates often make that prevent them from seeing success:

1.      Being careless with your resume

When it comes to resumes, quality trumps quantity every time. Whether you sat down for hours to write it down, or had one made for you by professionals, it falls upon you to make sure that the resume is free of any errors, grammatical or otherwise.Remember in school when your teachers urged you to always proofread before handing in your essays? The same applies in the post-grad world. For those jobs that require you to send in via emails, be absolutely sure that the attached resume has no formatting issues or those funny line breaks and tangled paragraphs. One trick you can use for this purpose is to save your resume in plain text form (.txt format). This format removes all formatting styles, and leaves you with plain text. Once you are satisfied with your work, you can resave that plain text file back to the original format, and email it to yourself to see what it would like when it is sent to prospective employers.

2.      Being easily discouraged

During your job hunt, you may have to meet numerous companies, most of whom you will never hear from again. Not to mention the many unreturned phone calls you will have to endure. Through it all, you have to maintain a positive outlook/attitude. Getting discouraged will only delay your success further.

To keep discouraging thoughts and attitude from creeping in, use your free time (after sending out resumes and networking) to work on self-improvement and hobbies you enjoy. Network with friends and groups in an effort to get your name out there. Join a gym to get/stay in shape. Read books, or take courses to learn new skills you can add to your resume. Do something worthwhile instead of moping around, checking your inbox every two minutes.

3.      Not networking enough

While career fairs and job search events may seem like wasted time, you could find your next job contact at one of these events. Networking should be a huge part of your job hunt activities. Meet as many people as you can that are relevant to your chosen career path. Join professional groups, volunteer your time to engage in networking functions; anything to get you in the same room with the people who call the shots in your chosen field.

4.      One-track job hunt strategy

It could be that every last one of your friends found a job by posting their profiles on social media sites. So you’ve decided to concentrate on that avenue solely. Well and good, but you could be limiting your chances of getting a job by choosing to focus on one search strategy. Diversify your job search by viewing as many avenues as possible. Check the listings on the local paper, view job boards on your stroll into town, check social media sites if you have been ignoring that area. Also, consider asking about jobs in person, if you are keen to work in particular companies. It may not guarantee you a job, but getting your face in front of the hiring manager could lead to them calling you up if anything opens up down the road.

5.      Unprofessionalism

We’re not on campus anymore and one of the biggest job search mistakes recent grads make it behaving unprofessionally. The real challenge is that you don’t need to be professional just inside the interview room but before and after and, nowadays, online as well. Being professional goes beyond just dressing the part; it goes into how you walk and talk, whether or not you’re on time and how promptly you respond to calls and emails. From the way you answer the phone to how your social media profile appears, everything about you should look and sound pro. If an employer gets interested, you have to be prepared that they may look at your social media and other online pages. If you have anything on there that you wouldn’t want your boss to see, take it down.

We hope these tips will help you avoid making a lot of the mistakes your fellow grads might be making and help you rise above the crowd. Remember that these things take time and as long as you are putting your best foot forward, you will eventually be rewarded!

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