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Grads: Are You Making These 5 Common Job Mistakes?
Thursday, June 21, 2012

Freshly graduated applicants are exciting for employers. They get their choice of the newest ideas and faces entering the job market. For grads, however, this part of life can make finals seem like fun.

But it shouldn't be scary if you know what you're doing. No one can teach you how to work like a professional, but you can find ways of acting like one in your own duties. Most grads won't even get that chance.

This is because of many of them are making the same mistakes right at the gate with flawed approaches in their application. If you want to hang with the big dogs, you've got to prove you have what it takes to fit in.

The job market is meant to build up your skills. Here are some ways to avoid being beaten by it:

1) Don't tell a company that it's where you want to "start" your career.

With competition so fierce among college grads, companies have their choice of the most qualified or  personably compatible candidate. They can essentially pick and choose whomever they want, so you'll need to do everything possible to make yourself the perfect candidate. They don't want someone they have to babysit which is what hiring someone who is looking for a career start will do. They want someone who will push them forward rather than slow them down. Instead, impress upon them that you would be good at doing what they do.

2) Don't put all the focus on yourself.

While you want people to get a sense of who you are, you don't want that to be the only topic of discussion. When the goal is to get a job, you want your skills and qualifications to be the focus. In your cover letter, focus on things that pertain to your contributions to the company. The main thing that companies want to hear about you is how they would benefit from your employment there.

3) Don't write a lengthy cover letter.

It can be easy to get carried away when you're trying to sell yourself to an employer. It's common for many college grads to not have much work experience by the time they graduate, which isn't all bad. But trying to make up for a lacking resume with an extra long cover letter isn't going to help. Keep it brief, to the point, and honest.

4) Don't include irrelevant information.

Applying for jobs is a basic process that grads should have down. In this day and age, those practices have undergone many changes, nonetheless, as the newest generation of job candidates you should have been keeping tabs. If you're still putting things on a resume that shouldn't be there or that the employer you're sending it to won't care about, it shows that you don't really know what you're doing. Things like common summer jobs with an excess of 5-6 bullet points for each are employer repellants.

5) Don't be clueless about the employer.

You should always research every company you applied to beforehand. Failing to do so can be embarassing if they consider you and start asking you questions you don't know the answers to. Plus, it doesn't really make sense to apply to a company you know nothing about. It makes it harder to sell yourself as a good candidate for working at a company when you're unable to give soild reasons why.
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