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Mistakes Graduates make when looking for jobs

by Martin Lewis
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Thanks to Graduate Jobs

Common mistakes graduates make when looking for a job.

1. Applying for all jobs with the same CV and covering letter

Apply for jobs that match your skill set and qualifications. Specifically tailor your CV and skills to match those listed in the job specifications. Like wise your covering letter may read as generic, try to mention the company name and why you were excited to see the job advert. What is about the company that makes you want to work for them.

2. Don’t have enough experience for the job, but can’t get the experience without the job

Catch 22 for graduates, particularly difficult for graduates that started their degree courses straight after their A – Levels without a previous employer.  If the job you are applying for is directly related to your field of study and the job specification as for only candidates with 2 years of previous work experience, still apply for the job. The 3-4 years of study still count as experience in your field of expertise.

3. Only applying for the ‘perfect’ jobs

Applying for jobs is a game of numbers, if you apply for only jobs that meet all your requirements you might be unemployed for a long time. You will have to broaden your criteria.

4. Apply for the job you want

You miss every shot you don’t take. If you devalue your skills and only apply for entry level positions and internships that’s where you will stay.

5. Extra curricular work and experience is transferable

Did you lead a team of volunteers on a project? This shows you have organisational and people skills. Did you contribute to a student newspaper? This shows you have time management skills and are able to meet deadlines.

6. Only applying for jobs online

Career fairs are excellent for meeting employers face to face. Be confident, introduce yourself, have a firm handshake and make eye contact with them during your conversation. This will leave a good impression with them, if they remember you as a bright, enthusiastic individual they’re more likely to hire you than somebody from a pile of CVs.

7. Use your network to find a job

Use your loose connections to find work. Friends or acquaintances might have a job for you or know somebody with available work. Get that friend to make an introduction and recommendation.

8. Self-regulate your online presence

People let loose at university, they get drunk, embarrass themselves and somebody takes a photo of it and puts it on Facebook. A few years later an employer sees this photo when researching a candidate. Instant rejection. Set your Facebook profile to private, and moderate what you post on Facebook and Twitter. Ask yourself, would my parents be embarrassed by this status/tweet? If the answer is yes, then you should leave the ‘banter’ for offline. There is also a recent trend for medical practitioners and school teachers to replace their surnames on Facebook with an alias. It stops patients and pupils from adding/following them, and separates work and personal lives.

9. Forgetting to proof-read your application

Spelling and grammar mistakes only show that you haven’t taken the time to check your work. This reflects poorly on you and will lead the employer to think you wouldn’t do a thorough job.

10. Not asking a question in the interview

Always have a question prepared for the end of the interview, it shows your interest in the job and the company. An interview is actually a two way process, it’s a chance for you to find out more about your potential new boss/line-manager and see if you would be happy at this job. Ask what they like about working for the company etc.

11. Not researching the company before your interview

Always research the company, it not only helps you decide whether you will really want to work for them, but when the interviewer asks you a question about the work the company does you will have an answer for them. There is nothing worse than not being able to answer a question in an interview.

12. Complaining about past employers

It’s like talking about an ex on your first date, don’t do it, nobody wants to hear it. Being negative about a former boss will leave an interviewer thinking one of two things; you’re might be a whiner and complainer rather than having a genuine dispute (they would only know your half of the story and there are always two sides to it) and they will wonder what you might say about them if you moved on from this new job.

All these points show to us that getting a job can be an exhausting process and can take a lot of time to get right but if you follow these points, then you should find that the success of finding a job after university and proving that you are the person that the company wants should come naturally.

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