Common Job Search Mistakes: College Graduates, Take Note
If you graduated with a college degree earlier this year, congratulations! And if you found a job and are now a member of the full-time working world, then well done, and good luck. Enjoy the adventures that lie ahead.
But if you’re like an astonishing number of 2011 graduates, you’re still looking. You’re wondering when your ship will come in, and you’re also probably wondering if you’re doing anything wrong. If you haven’t done so already, try making some of these productive changes in your approach to the job search.
First, get off the computer. It’s easy to sit at home carpet-bombing the world with mass emails and sending identical cover letters to hundreds of employers. It’s because it’s easy that it isn’t very effective. Be brave, be direct, and pick up the phone. Arrange face-to-face meetings with everyone you know who may be connected to your industry and able to offer you guidance, contacts, and advice. These meetings are often called “informational interviews” and you’re the one who initiates them and guides the conversation. Setting up these meetings will require chutzpa and professional drive, but so will life in the working world.
Second, ignore anyone who tells you that you need to “spin” your resume. You don’t, and since you’re a recent grad and a young person, any attempts to do so will likely come off as transparent and off-putting. Be proud of your background and who you are. If you completed an internship, say so, but don’t overstate your responsibilities or use tired buzzwords like “results-oriented” or “success-driven”. Be honest, confident, and specific if you want to stand out.
Finally, it may sound obvious, but you’re young, and you have nothing to lose by being humble. Find people who can help you, and approach them with your best foot forward. If your calls or messages are ignored, persist politely. Dress well, remember names, smile, and show respect for everyone you encounter. Some of your contacts may be busy or irritable, but most people enjoy helping younger versions of themselves, and everyone loves being asked for advice.