Quit Making These Common New Grad Job Search Mistakes

By Bob Evans
In September 22, 2016

Earlier this week, I was sent an article from Monster.com titled “10 Job Search Mistakes of New Grads.” As I read this article written by Charles Purdy, something stuck out to me—these job mistakes are not exclusive to just new grads.

Job seekers of all ages and experience levels are making these mistakes, which is why I felt compelled to share a few of my favorites with you—you know, in case you did not read the article because it was titled with “new grads” in the headline.

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Lack of Being Proactive

There was not much detail in this section, so I reached out to a couple of recruiters in the industry to ask them what they thought of the first item on Monster’s list. One recruiter stated, “I talk to people all the time who say they want to make a change. Then I don’t hear back from them for two weeks and by then I have already filled the job most of the time.”

This recruiter’s words ring true in the job industry. New grads think jobs are going to line up at their door because they sign up for a job board, while current workers are either too comfortable to actively seek a new job or think the “big promotion” is going to come out of left field and end up on their door step.

The fact of the matter is, if you want to improve your job situation, get that promotion or make more money—you need to be proactive! Get out there and search for the job or promotion you want. Answer the phone or respond to the email when that recruiter reaches out. You never know what taking a 10-minute phone conversation could do for career advancement.

Not Taking Job Interviews Seriously

Monster’s article focused on not being prepared for tough interview questions, which is obviously a major problem. However, when I reached out to a recruiter in the industry, he was more concerned about another major issue. “People do not seem to take phone interviews very seriously. Many of them are very informal, and act like we are best friends on the phone and don’t have the correct responses when I am asking them questions. Maybe they think recruiters are desperate and we will coach them, but honestly in most cases I have 10 candidates lined up and will move on to the next one if they are not serious from the first conversation.”

What is intriguing about this recruiter’s comment was, I have actually experienced this first hand. A friend of mine and I were going to lunch at an old job when he let me know he had an interview during lunch. I said okay, do you want to just grab something to go so you can get back? He said no, I’ll just do it at the table. Low and behold, he props up his iPad, tosses in some earbuds and does a Skype interview right there at the table in a crowded restaurant.

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Job seekers, recruiters understand that you are busy with life, your current job and whatever else you have going on. But if you schedule time to take an interview with someone, make sure you are actually available and give them the common courtesy they deserve. They are not just trying to meet a monthly quota, they are really trying to help you improve your life situation in the way you have been seeking for quite some time.

Follow Up Failure

Okay, so you had to know we were going to use this one since it was recently written about on the NexGoal website—however, Monster had a different take on the follow up situation. They suggested to “Hustle to follow up” when it comes to the application stage as well.

While my recent article was focused on how to follow up after an interview, their advice is great. Think about it for a second, how often do you apply for a job online and just sit there waiting for a return email or phone call? Probably pretty often, right?

Most companies do not list contact information on various job sites, so you will actually have to—you guessed it—be proactive to find contact information. The best thing is, we live in the information age. You can find a company’s website, staff directory and much more by simply Googling the company name and department you are looking for.

But be careful. You do not want to seem needy or desperate when you send this email or make the phone call. Another recruiter suggested, “Simply tell them you just wanted to introduce yourself and make sure your resume and application got to them. Thank them for their time and say you look forward to discussing the position more.”

Final Word

I truly appreciate the recruiters quoted in this article for their time in helping me put this resource together for job seekers. Job seekers, do not take their recommendations lightly! It is on you to make the change you have been seeking for quite some time, so get out there and happy job hunting.

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Bob is the Digital Content, Marketing Manager for NexGoal and has been writing in the digital world for 10-plus years.