According to any number of career counselors and recruiters, many new graduates make the same mistakes over and over again during their initial job search. As a result, employers often pass them over for the kinds of positions that could be career starters.
Want to increase your chances of getting noticed? Avoid these popular pitfalls:
You Send Out Hundreds of Résumés
Career consultant Melissa Cooley, founder of The Job Quest, LLC, has seen young candidates blast out hundreds of résumés, a process that can hurt them in a couple of significant ways.
When you ‘spray and pray,’ you nearly always use the same résumé for each position. “Even within the same niche in the same industry,” Cooley said, “there are going to be nuances that differentiate one job opening from another.” Tweaking the résumé to best reflect your nascent skillset with regard to the specifics of a position is not only necessary for the most basic job search, it will likely get you past the hiring software that dumps any applications that don’t use terms associated with the position.
The frantic résumé-sending also means that you’re not bothering to assess if you’re a good fit for a company. You only get one first job; you should take your best shot. Cooley advised that candidates carefully screen companies and positions to better ensure that they don’t end up regretting their decision to accept a particular job.
You Live On the Job Boards
If your job search is conducted entirely on job boards and company websites, you’re limiting your options. According to a recent Stack Overflow survey, some 28 percent of tech pros said a friend had referred them to their last job, well ahead of Websites (17.2 percent), external recruiters (13.8 percent), or seeking out an opportunity directly (9.8 percent).
Given those numbers, it may pay off to expand your search beyond job boards. Making additional contact with well-established tech pros and recruiters via social networks such as Twitter can prove effective, especially if you can leverage that interaction into an in-person meeting.
Your Networking Game is 0-0
Social media strategist and career consultant Miriam Salpeter, owner and founder of Keppie Careers, has noticed that new graduates often fall prey to the following when they network:
You think cultivating relationships is too slow: Networking doesn’t move at the speed of the Internet. The people you meet today may be the people who help you get another job in two or five years.
You assume everyone knows what you offer: Even if they know you, they may have no idea what your professional strengths may be. Being able to market yourself is a vital skill.
Fail to follow up: If you follow up, you add a person to your network; if you don’t, the person you inadvertently dismissed may no longer want to network with you.
Forget to circle back: Circling back is essential, especially if you use the opportunity to thank someone who helps you along the way. It’s all about the last impression you leave on other people, who may then consider you first when they hear of an open position.
Your Life Has Been Downloaded
“Having a social-media presence your grandmother wouldn’t be proud to share” is a ubiquitous misstep. As Salpeter noted, many social-media users have failed to recognize that over-sharing doesn’t sit well with a lot of employers.
With that in mind, it’s critical that you remove seriously risqué material that’s easily accessible online. Cultivate at least one work-related social media account. “Assume you are never anonymous in any network,” Salpeter cautioned. “Don’t post anything negative about an employer. You may find yourself out of a job before you land it.”