Woohoo you made it! You have your diploma and you are going to conquer the world. Well, you just might but then again, if you aren’t prepared, you might not. I hate to be the one to burst your bubble but you still have a long way to go and much to learn. Here are a few pointers on common mistakes that recent grads before you have made and how you can avoid them.
Look before you leap
Before launching your resumes into the business world you should think about what your job expectations are, what position you want to target and what you can bring to the job
-Is the company you wish to apply to in stable condition, meaning can you expect to have a long and prosperous career there?
-Does the company grow its leadership from within or do they prefer taking on outsiders for the higher positions? If it’s the latter you might want to focus on a different company
-Which entry level position should you apply for in order to reach your career goal within this firm?
-What is the job description for this position and do you have the knowledge to succeed at it? Don’t overestimate yourself, it will backfire on you. It’s better to start off at ground zero and gradually ascend by honing your skills and showing that you can really get the job done.
-What are the company benefits and incentives? This is important too. You want to know that if you give it your all this will be recognized by the company. Is there a bonus for goals reached? Does the company offer income protection insurance such as offered by Suncorp? This is something you should look into either way because you’ll want to preserve your lifestyle no matter what.
Clean up your social media act
Don’t underestimate the impact your social media sites, such as Facebook, have on your application. Nowadays most human resource departments and employers will take a look at these, to see what you have been up to, it’s a good resource for them. Pictures of you playing beer pong or participating in a wet t-shirt contest aren’t going to show you in a favorable light. Make sure there is nothing on there you wouldn’t want your, hopefully, new boss to see.
Resume and Presentation
It’s amazing how many grads concentrate on the content of their resume and forget to look for typos and format in an appealing way. Yes, the content is very important, but so is the attention to detail. A typo will only show the employer that you aren’t very detail oriented and you probably won’t even be invited for an interview. Make your resume appealing to the eye and easy to read, this is a bonus point you can earn without much effort.
Apply for a specific position
Never apply for multiple positions with the same employer. This sends up a red flag and demonstrates that you are not very committed. One position per company is the golden rule. This shows that you know what you want and are going after it.
Experienced candidate wanted
You can’t claim experience you don’t have but you can be pro-active in getting it. Volunteer during your vacations. This will give you experience in the field your targeting. If you volunteer with different companies you can draw comparisons between them. Flaunt it on your resume, this shows that you are dedicated and really want to succeed in your field.
Interview Etiquette and Flexibility
If you’ve made it this far the employer is impressed by your resume and cover letter and wants to get to know you a little better. When you go to your interview
-Dress for the position, don’t come in jeans when you’re applying for an office job. This shows you respect the position and the employer.
-Be five minutes early. You don’t want to come to early and you most definitely don’t want to be late. This also demonstrates respect.
-Turn OFF your cellphone. You wouldn’t believe how often this is forgotten. There is nothing more aggravating than your phone going off mid-interview.
- Ask questions. If you’re not asking questions you will seem uncaring and uninformed. Remember to investigate the company you are applying to before going there so you can ask informed questions. For example: “Does the company offer courses or seminars to its employees so they are always up to date in their jobs?” This shows that you’re in it for the long haul.
-Show that you are flexible. Don’t insist on working certain times, you adapt your schedule to your employer’s and not vice versa.
The job market today is difficult enough as is. You don’t want to limit your opportunities by making mistakes you can easily avoid. If you use this as a guideline for your job hunt you have already eliminated a large number of the hurdles you have to jump in order to get the coveted position of your dreams. Good luck and may the job gods be with you!
This is a guest post by Arlene Chandler. Arlene has accumulated her business acumen while working for a real estate firm in Seattle and works as a freelance writer for DGM Suncorp Income Protection Insurance.