First-time job seekers are often highly energized and passionate about climbing the career ladder, and are typically up-to-date on the latest trends and skills needed in their favoured field. Although there are a lot of things first-time jobseekers bring to the table, knowing how to master the job search is paramount to getting the call-backs you want.
Who doesn’t make some common yet avoidable mistakes along the way? Even the savviest jobseekers can easily make these blunders, which unfortunately can cost you the job offer or lose you a considerable amount of effort, time and possibly money.
Here are a few signs that show you have little hope in advancing your career prospects as a first-time jobseeker:
Putting too much weight on their GPA
A common misconception that junior jobseekers have is that high academics is the Number 1 factor in finding a job. Gone are the days when grades were the predominant criterion for selecting a candidate. Employers nowadays consider a wide range of skills (both hard and soft), experiences and credentials and examine candidates holistically. For most big corporations, such as Google for example, a mere GPA doesn’t say anything in particular. Employers look for all-round personalities with a great ability to solve their problems and help achieve their strategic goals.
Letting others intervene in your job search
Don’t let your mom and dad, or anyone else who is not authorized or qualified, control your job search. Resort to only a small selection of professional recruiters and career mentors but remember that generally there’s no better person who can market yourself effectively other than you.
Only considering full-time jobs
It’s common for young professionals to underestimate the perks that come with temp and short term jobs and placement services. Part-time jobs can be valuable to a jobseeker in the sense that it gives them varied work experience in different tasks. Use your part-time job as a basis for solidifying certain hard and soft skills, such as learning specific computer software which could be required in future jobs.
Leaving yourself open to too many kinds of jobs
Like businesses that fail to target their audience put their success in jeopardy, jobseekers who fail to focus on finding the right job run the risk of landing “just any job” which could lead to career failure sooner or later. Focus on those positions that are likely to provide you with job satisfaction, growth potential, great workplace and co-workers, inspiring learning opportunities and competitive compensation.
Overlooking niche boards
Did you know that mainstream job boards have a success rate of just 1-4%? Don’t restrict yourself to major job boards with a large pool of applicants. Some of the best jobs will be on niche job boards specific to your industry.
Focusing on salary
First-time jobseekers often fail to look at the big picture when it comes to deciding whether they will accept or reject a job position and instead pay too much attention on the salary and benefits. But even if they get an attractive pay cheque, how happy will they be if the company has a poor reputation for its management practices, if the commute gives them a headache, or if the workload is insane? When deciding on a job, the whole benefits package should be taken into consideration equally along with other relevant factors.
Not knowing your market value
Young jobseekers usually either undervalue or overestimate their market value, which usually leaves them with a salary that is not really representative of their real value. Before starting applying for jobs, a task you definitely need to do (other than refining your CV of course), is to research and assess your value in the marketplace so that you will be able to negotiate your salary effectively. Research what the industry standard is so you never accept a salary below your abilities.
If you don’t show enough enthusiasm for the position you are targeting and appear bored while interviewing or networking, then you will not appear as a viable candidate in the eyes of hiring managers or potential employers. You need to show and genuinely convey enthusiasm, proving that you have a thorough knowledge not only about the company you aim to work for but also about the industry of your specialisation.
You’re really not all that comfortable "using" people through networking
Many first-time jobseekers are a bit squeamish when it comes to networking because they think it involves using people and milking your contacts for all they are worth. Networking is not a one-way process; effective networking means that both parties - the networker and the contact - have a meaningful mutual benefit. The networker will gain the support of a person having hiring power, while the latter will feel invested in the contact’s success, given that the jobseeker could prove a valuable asset for the hiring manager’s company when hired.
Mailing unsolicited resumes without any purpose
Unsolicited resumes that show no real value and purpose on behalf of the applicant are considered garbage, scrap paper and wasted effort. If you decide to send an unsolicited application to an employer, make sure it stands out so that they remember you when they see a direct match between your profile and an open position.
These are just a few signs that show you are a weak first-time jobseeker, so you’d better look for constructive ways to become noticeable to employers and set forth your most powerful skills, experiences and strengths that will make you a discerning and winning candidate.
Image source: ArtBistro