Times are still pretty tough out there for recent college grads. Many are unemployed or underemployed, using only a fraction of the talents and knowledge they acquired in academia. If you’re among the hapless majority who are sending out resumes and going on interviews with nary a job offer, it’s time to ask yourself which of these job search mistakes you make.
Resume in a Vacuum
You graduated Summa Cum Laude and your faculty endorsements glow in the dark. Your school projects won honors and your school papers have been repeatedly published in some prestigious journals. You also have some impressive internships to point to that say you can pretty much hit the ground running. The problem is you may have an over reliance on your resume. Instead of relying on the accolades and GPA stats of your cv, you need to show how your academic achievements can boost profits, improve time and workload efficiencies and raise a company’s brand awareness. See the video, Writing an Employer-Focused Resume by Andrew Pearl, CEO of Precision Resumes, to get an idea about honing your resume to appeal to employers.
Interview in a Vacuum
This is where many recent grads fail to impress the interviewer. Many simply practice a canned elevator pitch without doing the due diligence to understand what the company is all about. To overcome this weakness, grads need to research who the company is, what they offer (services, products, etc.), and who the company’s chief competitors are. The goal here is to be so familiar with the company that you can offer some real solutions to problems.
Waiting in a Vacuum
The phone will not ring no matter how long you stare at it. Many recent grads make the mistake of just sitting at home, assuming that with the dozens of resumes they sent out, someone will call. They go to the beach, hang with their friends, and party till the job offers come in. Which is why they’re still unemployed or working at Wal-Mart folding sweatshirts. To land a decent job these days, you’ve got to work in parallel—take the steps outlined above and network like mad. That means fully exploiting every contact, associate, and friend of a friend in your local Chamber of Commerce, business group, Kiwanis Club, Rotary Club, non-profit organization, seminar, conference and social business function. Get to know the players in your industry and “hang” with these guys. Let them know who you are, what you can do. One event-listings site recommended by Gen Y researcher and consultant Dan Schawbel is eventbright.com.
Negotiating in a Vacuum
Many recent grads over-estimate what they’re worth to an employer. While companies need college level talent, there are simply too many grads chasing too few jobs, which drives down starting salaries. You need to temper the lofty salaries and perks you’ve been reading about with the abundance of applicants vying for a job at any one time. These days, every applicant has a degree, a decent GPA, and some internship work. And firms today are under a budget crunch to get the best talent for the least buck.
David Delong, author of Graduate to a Great Job: Make Your College Degree Pay Off in Today's Market notes that just responding to job postings on the Internet probably won’t land you a job. What will is face-to-face networking, strong interviewing skills and challenging internships.
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