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7 Job Hunt Mistakes New Grads Should Avoid

7 Job Hunt Mistakes New Grads Should Avoid

Don't make these mistakes - get the job YOU deserve!

Elizabeth Hoyt

March 03, 2017

When heading out into the job market, many new graduates find it’s not as easy as they had anticipated.

However, many of these students are making similar mistakes in their search without knowing it!

While you may think your degree guarantees you a job, that isn’t always the case.

Avoid these top job search mistakes, commonly made by new graduates, to help you get the job you deserve.

1. Mistake: Expecting too much, too soon

Most likely, your first job will not be your dream job. That’s just the reality of life. If you’re expecting to obtain your dream job right out of the gate, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment – and to remain jobless.

Fix: Aim for job positions that have potential for advancement

Your goal should be to find a position where you have a role to work towards. Look for job roles where it’s possible to climb the ladder into a dream role and there is possibility for upward mobility.

2. Mistake: Assuming your qualifications speak for themselves

Sure, you look great on paper. But, remember, so do all of the other applicants applying for the job positions. And, in this job market, there are going to be a lot of other applicants.

Making the assumption that you don’t need to speak up and sell yourself to an employer is a huge mistake because if you don’t, nobody will.

Fix: Be prepared to sell yourself and your skill set within your job interviews, backed with examples

Be aware that, while your qualifications may get you in the door for an interview, selling yourself and giving examples to demonstrate how you are the right job candidate to fill the position are what gets you hired.

When you go into any interview, be prepared to sell yourself. Enter armed with examples of how you’ll get the job done and what you, as a unique individual, will bring to the company.

Many new graduates lack this type of interview experience and charisma and it costs them job offers as a result. You’ll gain the upper hand by brushing up on these skills and, likely, job offers, too!

3. Mistake: Limiting your search to online postings

In a world where everything is based on the internet, it’s virtually incomprehensible to most new graduates that not all jobs are posted online. Yes, it’s true.

Restricting your job search to web-only is hindering you from finding many great opportunities that are out there – they’re just not listed. Maybe they haven’t been listed yet, maybe the companies prefer referrals.

There are a variety of reasons some companies don’t post job listings online, but the point is, if you only look online, you’re never going to learn about them.

Fix: Work to make real-life contacts within your desired field

Network! Get your face and name out there. Get to know professionals within your job search field. Job professional organizations, set up informational interviews, attend networking events – do whatever you have to do to become known to the movers and shakers within your desired field.

Yes, you will have to put in time and effort. Yes, you will have to get off the couch and enter the scary world of face-to-face social interaction.

But, you should never underestimate the power of making human connections. In fact, if you take on this task and really work at it, it’s way more likely to lead to great job prospects than any online posting.

4. Mistake: Limiting your job search to one particular area

If you’re only searching for positions in a particular field, within a small region of the country (even if it’s a large city), no wonder you’re having issues finding a job! Willingness to relocate is one of the major issues that young graduates have to deal with and if there’s ever a time to uproot, the time is now.

Fix: Broaden your horizons – literally

If you want to obtain a job – and obtain one soon – you must be willing to expand your search.

Search jobs nationally and be open to the possibility of relocation. You never know – once you find a great job, relocating for it may make sense and it may even be in a location you really like.

It’s important to stay open to all possibilities and change, otherwise, you’re passing up on a lot of potential opportunities.

5. Mistake: Lack of effort and/or careless mistakes

This is undoubtedly one hundred percent avoidable. You are a college – or perhaps, even, a graduate school – graduate. You cannot afford to make careless typos, use improper grammar or issues showing a lack of effort on your part in your resumes, emails or cover letters.

When you’re looking for jobs competitively, employers notice the little things and you cannot afford for the little things they notice about you to be mistakes and errors. That’s a surefire way to get your information in the garbage – and fast.


When it comes to reviewing and edits job documents, overdo it. If you think your resume, cover letter, emails and other job submission documents are flawless, walk away and check them again. And, again. Repeat.

Then, have someone you trust to be an intelligent individual look them over as well. Listen to their feedback and criticism and incorporate any changes that are necessary.

While this may seem overdone and tedious, it’s the only way to ensure a flawless, perfect document, which is the only standard that’s acceptable.

6. Mistake: Standardized submissions and/or incorrect information

Yes – the job search can become overwhelming – especially when you’re applying to multiple jobs (which you most likely are). It can be a lot of work to research and track down a contact for each company, their correct job title and the proper job position you’re applying for.

Too much work is not an excuse. If you’re not willing to put in the work to obtain the job, what does it say to potential employers about the effort you will be willing to put in once you actually have the job? Let’s just say it doesn’t reflect well on you.

Fix: Tailor all job documents to each specific job position to which you’re applying (including the company, job position and contact information)

Assuming you’re applying to more than one job, tailor each of your documents to the particular company, contact and job position to which you are applying.

Ensure you have each correct contact, the contact’s name spelled correctly, accurate job position to which you are applying and that nothing within your cover letter reflects a cold, standardized submission.

7. Mistake: Lack of preparation when opportunity strikes

Let’s analyze this hypothetical situation as an example of this mistake in action:

Suppose you make a great job contact at a networking event. This particular person has a lot of other contacts within your desired job field as well as a great job at a company you’d love to work for.

They currently don’t have any positions available at the moment, but they do have friends who might have open positions and they think you might be a great candidate.

He or she asks you if you have a hard copy of your resume you can give them or an email version so they can forward to friends and keep on file in case something opens up, because they think you’d be a great fit.

It would be beneficial for them if you could do so right now, so they don’t forget. (After all, he or she is a very busy business professional.)

Uh-oh. You’ve got nothing.

BIG mistake. Major opportunities, out the window.

Sure, you’ll try to whip up a quick resume when you get home, but it’s not going to be perfection (which, again, is the only acceptable standard within this job market). You’ll be stressed and on a time crunch.

Also, it’s always best to be able to hand over/email your documents in the moment.

Fix: Be prepared to hand out your all-encompassing resume at all times

While it is important to tailor your resumes, cover letters and other job documents when applying for specific job positions, it is helpful to have standardized resumes on hand at networking events and ready to be emailed during your job search.

This is especially important if you’re utilizing tip number four and attending networking events, informational interviews and joining professional organizations.

Why? Many of the contacts you meet will likely offer to keep your resume on hand in case any opportunities arise, which is exactly what you want. That’s your ultimate goal (in terms of making contacts) and you don’t want to miss out on the opportunity by not having the proper documents prepped and ready to go immediately. You want to utilize these moments within the moment as they are fleeting.

These documents, as with all others, should be flawless and concise, detailing all of your relevant experience and skills in order to cover any potential job prospects for which you may qualify.

Create yours to have on hand at all times, just in case. Remember, when it comes to your job search, being prepared is always your smartest option.