Advice for young job seekers

Last week I presented some advice I found online and gave my own spin on it. This week I’m going to continue that format by sharing some excellent advice that I found online, this time an article from Forbes, “The Biggest Mistakes 20-something Job Seekers Make” by Susan Adams, based on an interview with a “performance coach” (whatever that is). You can read the article online, but here are the highlights—and my response.

1.  Acting entitled

I always tell my students that there is a very fine line between confidence and arrogance. Learning how to be respectful and appropriately professional is crucial. Appendix I in my book makes suggestions for staying on the right side of this line when writing cover letters.

2. Starting the process too late

I really like the fact that this article considers “the process” to start with finding your first internship. It suggests that you need to do your first internship after your freshman year in college. I see too many students who leave an internship for their final semester (if they do one at all), which means they have little relevant experience on their resumes when they start applying for jobs (late in the semester before the final semester). This leads them to look like they’re playing catch up instead of being diligent individuals who have planned ahead.

3. Under-utilizing the alumni network

Many students don’t realize how important their alumni status is. . .and what great connections they can make because of it. Tips 18, 24, 25 & 30 in my book suggest ways that you can use the alumni association and network to your advantage.

4. Using a resume that’s sloppy and too self-centered

There are no hard and fast rules about how to create a good resume, but there are lots of mistakes that you can avoid. There’s advice about resumes scattered throughout my book, but Tip 38 and Appendix H focus specifically on how to create a good resume.

5. Writing cover letters that repeat the resume

A cover letter is, perhaps, one of the most difficult documents  you will ever write. There’s lot of advice available on line, but you’ll find concise suggestions, specific ideas for how to format the cover letter and what to include, and samples in Tips 39 and Appendix I.

6. Doing poor research

One of the first questions that many employers will ask in an interview is “Why do you want to work here?” If you can’t answer that and demonstrate specific knowledge of the organization, you don’t stand much of a chance of getting hired. Most of my tips in Step 3, which focuses on how to Research potential jobs, will help you figure out what you need to do to prepare.

7. Failing to clean up their social media profile

My book’s Tip 35 is Clean up your act—your virtual act, and I agree wholeheartedly that this is crucially important.

8. Not showing enough appreciation for the interviewer

The Forbes article repeats my advice: be sure to send a written thank you note after an interview. It can be a handwritten note or email, but failure to say thank you could be the thing that takes you out of the running. Tips 6, 42, and 47 in my book address this point

9. Failing to show generational deference

This suggestion is something I hadn’t thought about, so I will be devoting an entire post to this once I’ve done more research. 

10. Relying too heavily on listings and job fairs

The section of my book on Creating a network (Step 4) suggests lots of other avenues that job seekers need to pursue.