The hiring outlook for new grads is brighter this year, but it’s still a full-time job to find a full-time job. If you haven’t landed your first post-college gig, it’s possible that you just haven’t found the right fit yet … but it’s equally possible that you’re getting in your own way.
If you’re sending out a lot of CVs and not hearing much back, it might be time to change your approach. Watch out for these job search mistakes, and avoid sticking around your parents’ house any longer than you planned.
1. Looking Only Online
It’s possible that you’ll find the perfect job on on LinkedIn, CareerBuilder, etc., but if you restrict your hunt to job search sites, you could miss out. As much as 80 percent of all open jobs are never listed. Focus on job boards, and you’ll never tap this hidden job market.
Broaden your search. If you never took advantage of your college career center, or talked to a guidance counselor, now’s the time to change that. Your career center can help you connect with alumni, buff up your resume, even practice interviewing.
Get networking. Go to free professional mixers for opportunities to meet potential new contacts. Try college alumni gatherings for networking with people you already have something in common with (your love of your alma mater). Break out that yearbook and make sure you have contact information for classmates who are moving on to careers (plenty of people ditch their university email system address for a private one after graduation, so strike while the iron is hot).
2. Limiting Your Options
Don’t assume that your horizons are limited by your college major. Not every academic path is a blueprint for a post-college career. Contrary to what your parents might have told you, a liberal arts degree means a near-infinite set of possible job titles. (Don’t believe us? Check out these options for history majors.)
Make a list of jobs that appeal to you, and find out how people get from point A to point B. You might be surprised at which jobs lead to other, seemingly unrelated positions.
3. Giving Yourself a Bad Reputation
Employers look at social media, especially when they’re in hiring mode. You’ll want to make sure your social media profiles are clean and professional, not full of red-cup photos and lots of things you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see. That means cleaning up not only your career page profiles like LinkedIn, but also your personal social media profiles. Don’t assume that privacy settings will save you. The only way to avoid sharing something stupid is to not say anything you’ll regret in the first place.
Job searching? Clean up social media profiles ... and don't assume that privacy settings will save you.
4. Sending the Same Resume to Every Hiring Manager
Once you find that job listing or hear of an opening, know the right protocols for effectively applying for a job. You’ll want a resume that is customized to the job you’re applying for, not just your personal history. Here are some tips on customizing your resume, without telling any fibs (hint: it’s all in the keywords).
Be diligent in your job hunt. Don’t leave job applications for when you’re tired or multitasking. Again, job searching can be a full-time job, especially as you get going. Treat it like one.
5. Not Knowing What You’re Worth
Even when you’re just starting out, you don’t want to under-bid. Take the PayScale Salary Survey to find out an appropriate salary for your experience and education. That way, you’ll have all the information you’ll need if an interview turns salary negotiation.
Here’s to your job search and future success!
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