Mistakes college grads make when job hunting

Published On: Mar 07 2013 09:58:27 PM EST
Updated On: Mar 08 2013 07:40:00 AM EST
Work

Recent figures show about 1.5 million bachelor degree holders are jobless or underemployed. It’s a discouraging time for college students to enter the workforce and they need all the help they can get. We share five mistakes grads should avoid.

Candice Coleman has been looking for an entry level job since she graduated over a year ago.

“I didn’t think it would be that difficult just to get kind of like an entry level position,” said Coleman.

She moved back in with her parents and took a cashier position at the pharmacy she worked at in high school.

“Only now, as a rehire, I make less money and have less of a job title than I did before I even graduated from high school,” Coleman explained.

In 2007 unemployment rates for college grads was 5.4%. Now it averages about 8.2% and many, like Coleman, are underemployed.

“They have a job, but they are not working in the field that they’re trained in,” explained economist Heidi Shierholz, Ph.D., from the Economic Policy Institute.

Recruiting specialist Yolanda Owens says some mistakes can set college job seekers back even more. The first:

“Following up too much, that’s the biggest one,” said Owens.

Don’t follow up more than three times.

Another big mistake: errors on your resume or e-mails you send.

Not using social media is mistake three. You can showcase your skills for hundreds with just one post.

Getting too familiar too soon when networking is also a bad move.

Another biggie: being unrealistic. Your first job might not be your dream job.

“The Mark Zuckerbergs of the world are very, very few and far between and you do have to put in your time,” advised Owens.

Another common mistake job seekers make: revealing too much personal information. For instance, don’t share your financial woes or child care challenges with your potential employer.

Advice For Your Resume:

  • Customize your resume for each position you’re applying for.
  • Be as specific as possible and quantify it. Don't just say you raised money, say how much you raised
  • Make it simple with bullet points, not paragraphs
  • Give the employer three weeks to process
  • Read Owens' 5 Things Recruiters Look For In A Resume

Once you get an interview, Owens said, " Make sure you prepare a couple of stories about yourself that really display your leadership, your confidence and what you’ve done to improve your role.”

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