10 Big Mistakes College Students Make In Their Job Search

“Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t waste energy trying to cover up failure. Learn from your failures and go on to the next challenge. It’s OK to fail. If you’re not failing, you’re not growing.” –H. Stanley Judd

Out of all the job seekers I come across, there’s a special connection I share with the college grads. Their incessant zeal to turn the world upside down is contagious; but, it’s a shame to see over 76% of them failing to get a job even after spending months doing unpaid internships. If I talk about myself, it’s because it cost me 4 internships and 2 training sessions to secure my place in the firm I aimed for; however, not every friend of mine put the same effort.

I totally envy a few of them who got their dream job served on a platter. Not every friend of mine who got the job first was an ace scorer, but they avoided making a few mistakes that cost others a lot of time and efforts in their journey. Given below is a brief account of the same.

1. Not Responding To Your Emails And Calls

I understand it’s the age of texting, and for the college grads, nobody actually keeps a check on those emails. But, employers do! A large number of employers keep a constant check on the emails they receive and choose to communicate with the candidates via emails. Similarly, missing on those calls can cause the loss of a kickass opportunity you’ve been aiming for long. To keep up with the employers, check your emails daily and make a rule to answer all your calls.

2. Choosing Facebook and Twitter over LinkedIn

As a student, I spent a lot of time surfing through the funny videos on Facebook; however, I realized a bit late that it did not help me at all to achieve my respective goals. As per a survey, 90% of the college students claimed to network with their peers using Facebook, but over 46% said they have never been on LinkedIn. As a college grad, it is important to gauge the right platform to develop a network that would help you in the long run. It is a must to create a LinkedIn account by the time you’re a college senior. LinkedIn is a great way to network and develop links with the people who can help you professionally. This adds on to the odds of getting a job faster than your friends.

3. Taking ‘No Response’ As A No

It’s no lie that thousands of resumes go directly into a black hole and the applicants never really hear back from the employers. And to be honest, it has happened with almost all of us. While giving up is easy, I would suggest the college grads to keep swimming and find a thread that leads them to the employer. Look for a personal connection or a network that could help you in your quest. While you are in a competition with thousands of others who haven’t heard back from the employer, make yourself stand out by not giving up easily. If you think the job is a good fit then chase it till you get it. This would not only get you a step ahead in the rat race, but it also help you in fetching the perfect job.

4. Not Using The College Network To Max

A big mistake that college grads make is relying too much on the online listings and anonymous placement fairs. While, I don’t undermine the success rate of such listings, looking for a personal connection to the employer can give you faster results. Build a solid network of people on your campus who can help you achieve your goals. Keep up a casual conversation with your friends, professors, alumni and tell them you are focusing on finding a full-time job. Ask them if they know someone who works or have been associated with the companies you’re interested in. It would definitely lead you to the opportunities you would have let go otherwise.

5. Presenting A Self-Centered And Untidy Resume

Young job seekers usually work too hard on their resume and in that effort, they sometimes end up creating a copy that’s full of pages but lacks the required tidiness and grammatical accuracy. Another big problem I usually come across is the self-centered objective section that talks a lot about a candidate’s goals but very little about the employer’s requirements. To bag the job, one should emphasize more on what he/she can contribute to the firm and present the same on the resume.

6. Thinking That You Have Enough Knowledge

Well, I’ve come across a number of fresh college graduates who feel just because they have completed their graduation with great marks and from an esteemed college or university, they can get any job instantly. That’s not how it works in real life. To tell you the truth, there are a number of employers out there who are not even interested in your GPA or marks. Preparing yourself is a must before you apply for a job. While you are still looking out for the right job, keep revising your studies and never forget to get a hand on new skills that will help you bag the right job.

7. High Salary Expectations

Many young students who have completed their schooling or graduation from a reputed college expect too high of a salary for their first job. Students should keep it in mind to never bar themselves from certain jobs just because they are not paying well. In order to kick-start your career, I would advise you to focus more on your growth potential and knowledge that you’ll gain instead of what you’ll be paid.

8. Lack Of Career Focus

Most of the young grads I have encountered lack the career focus they should have. It is very important for you to have an in-depth knowledge of the career path you have chosen in addition to your passions. Research the field in which you have interest so that you don’t get tongue-tied when an employer asks about it. You would not believe the number of alternate options you’ll find relating to your desired job once you start researching.

9. Limiting Yourself Geographically

It’s an undeniable truth most college grads always prefer certain locations to begin their career. But that’s not how it happens every time. As far as my experience goes, it’s a really bad idea to give up on a certain job just because it asks you to relocate to a specific location. Never limit yourself geographically. Be open to all the jobs, whether they are in your preferred location or require you to shift somewhere else. Don’t be confused between going and staying if you are getting a really nice job. I would suggest the students to focus more on the opportunity that they are getting rather than focusing more on the geographical limits. Always have 2-3 choices for locations so that your career is not put on halt because of such a trivial reason.

10. The Dream Job Crisis

While most students have a dream job for which they work hard day and night, others turn out to be blank when asked about the same. If you have a dream job then it’s time you have a reality check as a majority of people do not land their dream job right after graduation. Waiting for the perfect dream job is a really big mistake many graduates fresh out of college make. While it’s okay to work hard for your dream job, sometimes, it’s better to just accept what’s coming your way in order to find better opportunities with the career growth. Instead of avoiding these jobs altogether, you should embrace them and turn them into a stepping stone towards your dream job.

It’s even better for students who haven’t thought about a dream job just yet. They should be open to any opportunity that comes their way and take it up right away. You never know what could be the turning point in your career. Instead of expecting too much from the first job, I say you should try a number of options and retrospect what you actually like doing.

A tip for all the students: Leverage each interview to learn about the corporate culture and underlying career advancement opportunities. It is your time, put your queries, ask questions and observe how employees interact. It’s okay to fail at some interviews and it is equally okay turn some down, there’s a better opportunity waiting for you out there.

Published by

Anurag Gupta

Anurag Gupta works for Placementindia.com , one of the leading placement portals of India. Anurag keeps a keen interest in ongoing placements trends in the country and has delivered many article and blogs exclusively on effective jobs search. View all posts by Anurag Gupta

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