As a result of working with a number of recent college graduates, I’ve noticed that their inexperience with the workplace affects their job search. Here are 10 rookie job-hunting mistakes and ways to avoid making them. (Some of them apply to more-experienced people, also!)
1. Giving up. One graduate couldn’t find a position in her field, so she took a low-paying clerical job and stopped her search. Yes, times are tough, but if you don’t keep looking, you are not going to find anything. Spend time on your search. The more you do, the more likely you are to find something.
2. Eliminating yourself. Some people don’t apply for a position unless they meet all the job requirements. Apply anyway. You still may be a good fit for the position -- or you may be perfect for another opening at the same company.
3. Only having one version of your resume. You may be applying for a number of different types of jobs, and you want to tailor your resume to the position.
4. Not using the Career Center at your college. When I asked a young man if he used the Career Center, he replied, “I never used it when I was in school. I didn’t think to use it now.”
5. Apologizing for your inexperience. Avoid saying, “I’m sorry. I have never done that.” Emphasize what you have done.
6. Not doing your research on job hunting. This may be the first time you are looking for professional employment. There is a lot of information readily available on the web. Reading about looking for work can provide suggestions for your own search. And reading about companies to which you are applying is absolutely essential.
7. Having inappropriate material on your social media sites. Get rid of anything that is questionable. Human Resource people and bosses will look you up and evaluate you based on what they see or read. Also, be sure to have a LinkedIn presence online.
8. Not having a coach. A coach keeps you focused on your search. You report to your coach regularly about your activities, and discuss additional opportunities to explore. You can hire a coach, or ask someone you know, preferably a trusted, professional adult, to be your coach.
9. Not letting people know you are looking. You never know who may know of an opening.
10. Not volunteering. If you are not employed, do some volunteer work in your community. You will be giving back, and potentially meeting people who can help you in your search. .
Additional suggestions are available in my book The Essentials of Business Etiquette: How to Greet, Eat, and Tweet Your Way to Success.