Advice From a Recent Grad: Avoid My Job Search Mistakes

As a recent grad in this “new” economy (that’s what we’re calling it now, right?) finding a job has been nothing short of difficult. There are several reasons that I (along with a lot of other grads) am having this problem. To be honest, I made several key mistakes in my job search that had I known ahead of time to avoid, I would have saved a lot of time and frustration.

1)  I Have Really High Expectations

The truth is, Gen Y has somewhat unrealistic expectations when it comes to entering the workforce. I read a lot of books about corporate culture; how businesses got their start, and autobiographies of super successful CEOs. It’s difficult to grasp that right when I enter the workforce, in most companies, I won’t be able to unleash my creativity and take some leadership on projects. If I get a job in which I can’t work virtually, I want a COOL office building – I want bright colors, cool couches, and kegs on every floor. (W+K does it… why can’t everyone else?)

2)  I’m Out of State

Currently, I am living in California and searching for a job in Oregon – this has proven difficult. I’ve had several opportunities in Los Angeles, but upon finding out I’ll only be there for a few more months, those opportunities are (understandably) rescinded. Friends keep telling me to just get a job and not tell potential employers I’m moving soon… while this might work, it’s not an option I’m comfortable with. The same thing goes with opportunities found in Oregon; when interview time comes around, it’s necessary to explain that I won’t be moving there for a little while, and they always seem to need someone “yesterday.”

3)  I Wasted Too Much Time on Online Job Boards

Before and soon after graduation, I posted my resume on almost every job board I could think of, and every new one I came across. I searched these sites relentlessly for hours at a time – to no prevail. It wasn’t until after a LOT of wasted searching that I realized job boards simply aren’t the way to go. (Network, network, network.)

4)  I Didn’t Have a Clear Plan in the Beginning of My Search

I started my job search looking for any job. I just wanted a paycheck, in an office, doing anything. I didn’t have a list of target companies. I didn’t keep a record of companies I had applied to. I didn’t make it easy to customize my resume for every position – I didn’t even keep a “master” resume.

In short, I did everything you are not supposed to do.

Or rather, I didn’t do anything you ARE supposed to do.

The most important (and productive) thing you can do is to PLAN your search before you begin.

Learn from my mistakes… don’t waste several months trying to land a job at any company, from Monster, without a record, a list, or an idea of what you want to do.  Executing a well thought out job search will relieve you of endless frustration, confusion, and disappointment. (Trust me, I’m speaking from experience here.)

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4 thoughts on “Advice From a Recent Grad: Avoid My Job Search Mistakes

  1. Funny thing. I went the the same agonizing circles trying to find my corporate dream job after graduating three years ago. Eventually, I just started my own thing and, since doing so, have received several job offers. The ironic thing, I now don’t want those jobs. I want to focus on growing MY OWN business. There was a sudden shift in my employability when I decided to employ myself. (By the way, I know a few people looking for FT marketers. Ever consider Ohio? It’s like Oregon but flatter with fewer beaches and worse coffe:-).)

    • I’ve heard about a lot of people graduating with no job luck and starting their own companies – this is a choice I admire, and congrats on your success! I haven’t thought about Ohio… I don’t know if I could give up my coffee! ;) Thanks for thinking of me, I’ll keep that in mind!

  2. Pingback: 3 Ways to Prepare Your Resume

  3. Pingback: 6 Steps to Finding a Job of Your Dreams: Free Webinar | FWK Blog

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