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in Los Angeles, but upon finding out I’ll only be there for a few more months, those opportunities are (understandably) rescinded.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.)

 

 

About the Author: Erica Roberts graduated from Oregon State University in 2011 with a B.S. in Marketing. She is an avid reader and writer, and is extremely passionate about social media. Erica currently holds several part time marketing positions, including a social media internship with YouTern, and is searching for a full time career. Connect with Erica on LinkedIn and Twitter.

 

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  • Rich Grant

    Nice article, Erica!

    • http://twitter.com/EricaLRoberts Erica Roberts

      Thank you, Rich! 

  • http://www.jobplotter.com/ Jobplotter

    Great article.  Sounds exactly how my initial job search went. I applied to everything with no real strategy.  I did find a job not long after graduation, but it was through my network.

    • http://twitter.com/EricaLRoberts Erica Roberts

      Thank you! You’re absolutely right – networking has been the most valuable job search tool I’ve used. 

  • Kathryn Stroppel

    Good article and good advice. Keep your eyes open for OSU marketing jobs … I may have one available in a few months and am looking for a marketing background and strong writing skills. FYI …

    • http://twitter.com/EricaLRoberts Erica Roberts

      Thank you, Kathryn! I absolutely will! 

  • http://www.InternsLink.com/ ISL Recruiting China Ltd.

    Your advice should be appreciated by fresh graduates. Good luck to whatever you pursuit.

    • http://twitter.com/EricaLRoberts Erica Roberts

      Thank you so much!