subscribe to RSS feeds

« back to all blogs

Six Expensive Job Search Blunders College Grads Make

After spending over six figures sending your child to college, you might be feeling concerned about the tough job market. It's not a friendly place for most people these days, but especially hard on those who Don't know what they want-or how to get it.

We recently worked with two college grads after they'd had a tough time.

Michael's parents were delighted when he moved home after graduation. Several months later, they saw only half-hearted job hunting and no job.Their nagging turned the house into a war zone with harsh words and slammed doors.

Rachel was quickly hired, but got bored and quit after a few months.Then she quit her second job. Before she'd been out of a school a year, she was in her third job.  Her parents were nervous, and she was losing confidence.

What was going wrong?

 1) Failing to Articulate How They Can Contribute
Both grads had transformed solid, even spectacular college careers into a dull list of jobs on their resumes. Michael wrote more about his freshman year hamburger-flipping job than he did about his work in student government where he was instrumental in organizing a student lobbying campaign that successfully blocked two bills in the state legislature that would have negatively affected the campus. Using his social media and organizing skills, he generated countless emails, phone calls, and petitions to elected officials.

Since Rachel believed in being humble, she omitted her impressive grade point average. As I worked with her, I learned that she had played a major role in executing a plan that transformed her university's chaotic Student Information Center into a smoothly functioning, useful office. She helped to upgrade databases, streamline systems, and bring a new level of service to the office. Although the university recognized her with an Outstanding Student Achievement Award, she never once mentioned this accomplishment in job interviews.

Employers didn't recognize how good she is. Consequently, she felt unchallenged and bored. Changing jobs didn't solve the problem.When she began to speak clearly about her skills we fixed the way she spoke about herself, employers saw her potential.

2) Not Understanding the Job Market

Both clients had the idea that employers hire to fill openings or vacancies.Instead, we showed them that they hire to fill needs and advance their own careers.They learned to think about how they could save money, find new customers, keep existing customers happy, run efficient operations and so on.

3) No clear goals

Neither Michael nor Rachel had a clear idea of what they wanted to do.They didn't know how to translate their success in school to the work world.Once we helped them get clear about that, the job search became much more interesting-especially after they handled #4 and #5 (below).

4)  No marketing plan

Not only did they not know what they wanted to do, they didn't know who they might want to work for, how to reach those people, or what they would say if they did. After sending out a couple hundred resumes online, Michael essentially gave up. Meanwhile, a friend got Rachel an interview and she was hired, but for the wrong job. Once there was clear structure to their efforts, both of them got busy.

5) Not Using and Expanding Their Networks

Throughout college, both students developed strong relationships with people who could help them in their job search:professors, supervisors, people they'd met through internships, alumni of Michael's fraternity, and so on. Neither used them effectively.  All Michael did was hand resumes to three people who promised to hang onto them. Rachel did nothing, as she felt she would be "using" people she knew if she contacted them.

6) Neglecting LinkedIn

Despite being a wizard with other social media, Michael paid little attention to LinkedIn. He had a skeleton profile and hadn't learned to use it to make connections.Rachel had done better, but still wasn't tapping the full potential of LinkedIn.

The two were excited to find that properly approaching people they knew, and expanding their networks to key people they didn't know, soon opened up interesting possibilities.It took a lot of work, but Rachel and Michael both found great jobs and are making the investment in college pay off.

If your college grad is struggling--or you want to avoid that--call us about a Career Action Plan Meeting.



Blog Articles

Blog Archives