With scores of graduates flooding the job market this month, some will begin with high hopes about working in their chosen careers. Others will be a bit less optimistic as to their employment search, while quite a few will become downright disenchanted. They’ve done everything they were supposed to, which includes getting a degree, excelling academically and sending out countless resumes.
So what’s wrong?
Part of the problem is an entry-level candidate’s misconception about securing an interview and a job. I recently found a good video that addresses this subject. It came out last summer, but the points made in it by Lea McLeod of Degrees of Transition still hold true.
The Most Common Misconceptions of New Grads
- Believing that sending out a resume is all that it takes. As quite a few new grads have learned, that’s simply not true. Many candidates will state that they’ve sent out resumes for months, applying for dozens or hundreds of positions, without securing even one interview. They can’t imagine what’s wrong. The problem is most likely their resume. It’s not targeted to the company and position they seek. In this poor job market, no one can risk sending out a one-size-fits-all resume to every available posting. Failure to dovetail skills/knowledge/abilities to the position’s responsibilities is another big mistake. Accomplishments also matter. If you haven’t listed the results of your tasks, no one will care. There are simply too many other equally-qualified candidates to consider.
- Applying solely online. According to the video, research has proven that a mere 7-10% of jobs are found online, while a whopping 60% are secured via network referrals. Candidates need to make themselves visible. Use contacts from school to learn what jobs aren’t being posted and about hidden employment opportunities.
- Allowing parents to become too involved. Although they mean well, your parents faced a far different employment market than you will. Thank them for their concern, but use all the tools that are now at your disposal – tools they never had – to find the right opportunity.
- Deciding to go on to graduate school because the market is so bad. If your only purpose in returning to school is because you believe you can’t get a job, you may be making a huge mistake. You’ll be adding significant debt with new educational loans, and the market may not be any better when you receive your advanced degree. It’s better to weigh your options and to determine if your lack of success is due to your poor resume or because you really do need an advanced degree in your field.
- Accepting that there are simply no jobs out there. If that were true, no one would be working. As of April 2013 national unemployment was at 7.5%. While it would be better at 4%, which is considered full employment, it still proves that the vast majority of Americans are working.
It’s not easy finding a job, but it can be done. It takes persistence and the right approach, including an effective resume.
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