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Steer Clear of These 4 Career Mistakes College Graduates Make

Steer Clear of These 4 Career Mistakes College Graduates Make
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Amanda Suazo May 6, 2014

Keep away from these top rookie career faux pas.

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Think finding a job after graduation is hard? Join the club.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of underemployed degree holders has risen 10 percent since 2001 — and recent graduates suffer the worst prospects.

As a college graduate, you need to conduct your job search as efficiently as possible — your degree alone won’t get you far. To avoid postgrad unemployment and to find your dream career, don’t fall for these four common mistakes:

1. Avoiding Your Campus Career Center

If you’ve never been to the career center, you’re missing out; find information on mentoring opportunities, interview skills, resume and cover letter formatting, career fairs, and even exclusive job boards. Take advantage of this resource while you still have access.

Career centers often help alumni transition into jobs, although some colleges may stop offering services a year or two after you’ve been out of school; contact them and see how you can work together.

2. Waiting for the “Perfect Job"

Many companies are more reluctant to hire candidates for fear of another economic downturn; even with more qualified applicants (and more competition), getting hired could take months. In March alone, reports indicate that more than one-third of unemployed people took at least 27 weeks to find jobs.

The lesson here? Instead of waiting for the ideal position, think about what the less-than-ideal jobs can offer. If you get hired at a company that provides relevant experience and connections, the job is worth taking — you have plenty of time to advance and land the career of your dreams.

3. Forgetting to Network

Experts often say that 80 percent of jobs are not advertised. To take advantage of the “hidden job market," you need to know people on the inside instead of blindly handing out resumes.

But how do you build your network? Look to family, friends, classmates, professors, club mates, co-workers, alumni, and beyond. Ask these folks about potential job leads and whether they can connect you to others in your industry. Attend professional events to meet more people, keep in touch with your contacts, and be ready to explain your qualifications, and what kind of work you want. Although networking can seem scary, people genuinely want to help!

4. Using Social Media ... the Wrong Way

The vast majority of companies use social media to screen candidates — and a bad online presence could eliminate you from the running. Think about it: What message does your Facebook profile send to employers?

To build a better social media identity, build more profiles and use them to display the professional “you." Delete inappropriate content and think carefully about how employers could interpret each pin, tweet, or update. To look even more qualified, show that you’re keeping up with changes in your industry. Share relevant articles, talk to businesses and executives, and look for job leads from your connections.

The unemployment numbers are scary for college graduates, but you don’t have to follow the trend; avoid simple mistakes to start your career on the right foot.

What’s your must-avoid tip for finding a job after graduation?


Gabor, M. (2014, March 1). New college degree in hand: now what? Retrieved from Bureau of Labor Statistics

Mayfield, J., & Mayfield, L. (2013, February 16). 6 ways students can make the most of college career services. Retrieved from U.S. News & World Report

Rampell, C. (2013, March 6). With positions to fill, employers wait for perfection. Retrieved from The New York Times

Unemployed persons by duration of unemployment. (2014, April 4). Retrieved from Bureau of Labor Statistics

Nishi, D. (2013, March 24). Take your search for a job offline. Retrieved from The Wall Street Journal

Social recruiting on the rise: Jobvite survey reveals 89% of U.S. companies plan to use social recruiting in 2011. (2011, July 12). Retrieved from Jobvite


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