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Job Search Mistakes College Grads Typically Make

Job Search Mistakes College Grads are Making

If you’re a recent college graduate, congratulations!

Are you in the market for your first job? If so, keep your chin up. The economy is promising and in many industries, employers are eager to hire fresh young talent. But there are a number of common job hunting pitfalls that you want avoid.

As you launch your career, don’t make these mistakes:

Not Being Proactive Enough

Now is not the time to take a casual approach to your job search. Create a list of five to 10 target companies that you’d like to work for and aggressively network to find an “in” at each one of them.

Relying Solely on the Web

When thousands of candidates are vying for the same job online and posting their resumes to the same boards, you need to stand out by making personal connections and networking your way into the company.

Limiting Your Network

Don’t hold back when developing your professional network. Turn to friends, colleagues, former employers, advisors and friends of friends and relatives. Be persistent. Most everyone has received a helping hand at some point in their careers, and they’re willing to pay it forward.

Sending Out Generic Resumes  

Customize your resume and cover letter to each position to which you apply. Include strong statements about your career goals and the unique contributions you can make.

  • Think carefully about what you have to offer an employer versus what you want to get from one. Make it all about them.

Failure to Follow Up

Be persistent. It’s not enough to send out your resume and then just wait for the phone to ring. And don’t expect it to be discovered in that big black online hole, either. Hustle and follow up on every resume you put out there.

Setting Expectations Too High

Too often, new grads fixate on finding the perfect job – which is almost always different than a first job. Your focus should be on landing a position where you can learn a lot, work with good leaders and mentors, and be super busy honing your skills.

Temporary and temporary-to-hire positions can be a great way to get started as well.  Often times, just getting your foot in the door will give you the opportunity to prove yourself and you may find yourself in that great job you were hoping for before you know it!

Appearing Unprofessional

As you embark on your job search, expect to be closely scrutinized by prospective employers.

  • Clean up your digital footprint. Update passwords, check privacy settings and do a thorough purge of your online presence.
  • Change voice mail greetings to verbiage that is 100 percent professional.

Not Taking Interviews Seriously

Even if you’re interviewing for an unpaid internship, strive for the highest standards of professionalism.

  • Demonstrate that you’ve thoroughly researched the company.
  • Dress appropriately.
  • Be prepared to answer tough but common questions such as “Where do you see yourself in three years?” and “What are your weaknesses?”

Not Reading Job Descriptions or Following Application Instructions

A job description or posting is your first window into what a job and company are all about. Read them thoroughly so you can learn about the responsibilities of a position, as well as the company’s culture and work environment.

  • Triple check application instructions so you follow them perfectly. Many employers automatically discount even top candidates if they fall short. This often is a deliberate measure to rule out those who are not detail oriented or fail to follow step-by-step instructions.

Contemporary Personnel Staffing has numerous opportunities available for recent college graduates, contact us at jobs@cpsprofessionals.com or (315) 457-2500 to learn more!

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