New Grads: Avoid these Job-Search Mistakes

Posted May 27, 2013

7 Job Search Mistakes New Grads Make

Happy graduation and welcome to the real world, class of ‘13! The bright side of this newfound adulthood is multifaceted: you’re looking at more disposable income, independence and happy hours galore in your future.

But first you need a job.

The outlook isn’t looking too pretty: the millennial unemployment rate went up to 13.1 percent in January from 10.9 percent in November.

Don’t worry, to help you out, we scoped out what employers, industry experts and HR professionals say are the worst, most common mistakes that new grads make. So, if you avoid all of the below points, you’ll be in much better shape than many of your colleagues in the applicant pool.

1. Your Social Resume is Lackluster

What is a social resume? Glad you asked. It’s a combination of all your professional social profiles, blogs and portfolio. “A professional and well-rounded social media presence gives potential employers greater insights into your personality and interests outside of the workplace,” says from Peter Arvai, CEO of Prezi.

My recent post on US News on Careers can help you break down how to build a thriving social resume in just an hour a day.

2. You’re Limiting Yourself By Your Major

The learning does not stop after the diploma – especially if you want to break into a new field. Jot Dhaliwal, graduating liberal arts major from UC Berkeley told me that the biggest struggle he faced as a soon-to-be new grad is breaking into the business side of the tech industry with no technical skills. The solution? Free online courses.

“The trick is to take advantage of the vast amount of free online resources such as Khan Academy, Code Academy, Udacity, Coursera and of course Google's certification programs.,” Dhaliwall says, who landed an internship at Grahm & Associates and Webmarketing123.

We love this list of 700 free online courses via Open Culture.

3. You’re Not Networking Enough

Sending off dozens of resumes is just the bare minimum of what job searching requires.

Use LinkedIn, Twitter, cold emails and alumni network. “Build relationships with these people so that they will think of you when jobs are available,” says Kent Lee, career expert and consultant for Yahoo and the CEO of Perfect Resume. “Plus, these connections can provide you with valuable insight regarding what companies are hiring, etc. etc.”

4. Lack Enthusiasm

"The curiosity to learn coupled with a positive attitude is a recipe for success,” says Alexa Hamill, PwC’s US Campus Recruiting Leader.

Be yourself – and exude confidence, enthusiasm and a fresh perspective. “The most important thing for a candidate to remember during the interview process is to be themselves,” Hamill says.

5. Overlook the Company’s Culture

“Whether you’re seeking an internship to gain more experience after graduation or heading straight into entry-level employment, you’ll have a more successful job search if you tailor it to the specific values and company cultures you’re interested in,” Heather Huhman, CEO and founder of Come Recommended.

It’s tempting to accept the first offer you get, but check out this post on how to spot a bad company culture to avoid a terrible professional experience.

6. Be Too Timid to Ask for Informational Interviews

John Paul Engel, managing director at Knowledge Captial Consulting, tells his students to ask for an informational interview and then ask three questions:

1. How did you get into this career (let people tell their life story)

2. What have you learned that has helped you be successful (everyone likes to hear their successful)

3. What can a student like myself do to get into this field?

“These interviews have led to jobs, opportunities to be on boards of nonprofits, and one student got $10,000 in contract work,” Engel says.

7. Wait Until Graduation to Start Job Searching

“Students must look for internships and real-world experience while they're in school, and should not wait until they graduate because by then, it may be too late and they won’t be competitive,” says Daniel Newell, job development and marketing specialist at San Jose State University Career Center.

Hit the ground running after classes ASAP! It’s never too early or late to start job searching.

Check out more New Grad Career Guide posts

photo of The CareerBliss Team

The CareerBliss Team

CareerBliss cares about your career happiness. That's why we offer a variety of great tools and resources to help you make better-informed career decisions. We believe that if you're happier at work, you'll be happier in life! Check out company reviews, salary information, career advice and, of course, millions of jobs on CareerBliss and choose happy today!

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