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7 Mistakes First Time Job Seekers Make: And How to Avoid Them

7 Mistakes First Time Job Seekers Make: And How to Avoid Them

Kizzy warns first-time job seekers of common mistakes that they should avoid.

By Kizzy Preston

September 19, 2011

The day you graduate from college may be one of the happiest days of your life. The sense of accomplishment, the acknowledgement of a job well done, the pat on the back from your family and peers elates you. The future looks so bright, until you begin to search for a new job and are met with rejection after rejection. Then you begin to wonder if all of your years of hard work pursuing a college degree were worth it, if you can not find a job.

Some first time job seekers may be making mistakes that they are not even aware of. If you have found yourself committing any of the below offenses, stop, and change course immediately.

1. Unprofessional initial contact — You always want to make a great first impression. Whether you are responding to a job posting via telephone, email, fax, or postal mail, you want that first contact to be professional. By email, fax, or mail, address the hiring manager by name, and proofread to make sure you didn’t make any careless mistakes in spelling or punctuation. Always include a well thought out cover letter with your resume that is designed for the specific job you are seeking. For more information on creating cover letters look here. (http://career-advice.monster.com/resumes-cover-letters/cover-letter-samples/jobs.aspx)

By telephone be sure there is no noise in your background. Turn off the television and radio before placing a phone call or returning one. Be sure to speak in a professional manner using please, and thank you.

2. Missing the interview without calling to cancel — This one may seem like common sense, but more people do this than you know. If you can not make a previously scheduled interview, even if it is because you have already found a new job, let the company know. You never know when you may need to apply to that company in the future, and you do not want to have burned a bridge.

3. Dressing unprofessionally — For an interview you want to look your best. Your hair should be neat, not overly styled. You should wear professional clothing, preferably a suit. Here are some tips on professional interview attire.

4. Bringing friends or family to an interview — You may be thinking, who would do that? Lots of first time job seekers do it. They bring their mother/father, or boyfriend/girlfriend, or best-friend with them to the job interview for moral support. This is not the doctor’s office, or even the admission’s office at school. Bringing people with you to your job interview looks really bad to your potential employer. If you are incapable of completing an interview without someone holding your hand, how can you go to a job each day on your own and perform well?

5. Being unprepared — When you go in for an interview it is important that you bring a current copy of your resume with you, and at least 3 references. Even if you previously emailed a resume to the company, it is best to be prepared to submit it again.

Also, you want to research the company so that you are informed. When the interviewer asks, “Do you have any questions for me?” which they surely will, have a few prepared. Do not ask about the pay rate in the initial interview. Instead ask thoughtful questions about the company itself or the particular job you will be doing.

6. No thank you — When your interview is complete, thank the interviewer for his or her time. You also want to send a thank you note either by postal mail or email.

7. Using social media in a negative way — Many potential employers search the names of their potential employees online. What will come up if your name is searched? If it is anything negative, or inappropriate, you may just kiss the position you applied for goodbye. Take caution when online, including comments you leave on other people’s social media pages. While you may have set your Facebook or Twitter accounts to private, the page you are commenting on may not be private. These comments do show up when your name is searched using a search engine.

If you avoid making these mistakes, you will be well on your way to landing that first job.


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