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3 Common Misconceptions Hurting Your Job Search

3 Common Misconceptions Hurting Your Job Search

April 01, 2010

1. “I deserve a job because I worked hard to get my degree.“

Many college grads on the job hunt believe that they are essentially entitled to employment because they worked long and hard for their degree. It is indeed true that dedication and hard work go a long way – but that tenacity guarantees a graduation date, not a job. Some students say that their excellent GPA, extra-curricular involvement, internship experience, or even their major entitles them to a good-paying entry-level position at a Fortune 500 company. While all of these are indeed factors that may help you in your job search, none are golden employment tickets on their own. This kind of thinking makes a college graduate a passive job seeker which is the last thing anyone wants to be.

Instead, job seekers should write down their past experience, skills, and qualifications and see how they can best brand themselves. Next, they should use job interviews as rare opportunities to explain why they are indeed the best candidates for the position.

Stop believing: “I deserve a job because I worked hard to get my degree.”

Start thinking: “How can I show companies that I am the best possible candidate for this job?”

2. “That’s not my ideal job, so I won’t bother applying.”

The recession has decreased the quantity of jobs available for recent graduates, and those jobs that are available are often not the “ideal” jobs grads are looking for. The most common reasons new grads may not bother applying to certain jobs are:

• Salary – “too low”

• Job title/duties – “not important enough”

• Location – “not close to my family/friends”

• Industry/company – “not my favorite one”

The biggest differentiator today is between a college graduate having a job or not having a job, not between living in Seattle or Miami, or between working in the tech industry versus the entertainment industry. Graduates must realize that a job appropriate to their major is a pathway to career advancement, networking opportunities, and of course income.

Stop believing: “That’s not my ideal job, so I won’t bother applying.”

Start thinking: “This job gets my foot in the door at a company, gives me experience, and the connections I’ll make here may prove to be invaluable in the future”

3. “If I only knew the CEO/VP of a company, my life would be set!”

Here’s a commonly-believed scenario from the article “Debunking Job Networking Myths for College Grads”

“You: I know Darren – he’s a big shot at Accenture. He said you’d give me a job.

Recruiting Director: Of course, I will. You’re hired. We’ll see you on Monday morning at 9:00. I’m assuming $200,000 will work for you as your new IT Specialist salary.

Sadly, that’s not what networking is all about”

Job networking is not about being handed a job on a silver platter because you know someone; it is about getting noticed, about standing out from the crowd because of a referral. Yes, you may get sent to the hiring manager’s office for an interview quicker when you do have a referral rather than when you don’t, but once you are there it’s all on you. Can you prove to the interviewer that you are qualified for the job? Are you likeable and confident? If not, the referral was just wasted.

Networking is tremendously important when looking for a job, and getting a referral basically means you’ve been prescreened by a trusted employee and you have a good chance of getting an interview. It is important to remember however, that networking does not guarantee you a job. Networking simply improves your chances of getting hired.

Stop thinking: “If I only knew the CEO/VP of a company, my life would be set!”

Start believing: “Networking won’t guarantee me a job, but it will get me an interview faster.”