New grads, don't make these common job-search mistakes.
A big thank you to everyone who tuned in to this month's #OfficeHours, presented by TopResume! This time around, I had the pleasure of being joined by award-winning author Danny Rubin. With college graduations right around the corner, we thought it would be the perfect time to address some of the biggest mistakes recent graduates make in their post-college job searches. Below is a link to the video of our live chat where you can see Danny Rubin and me discuss the top five job-search mistakes made by recent college grads. Plus, we answer your burning job-search questions in an open Q&A.
The top 5 job-search mistakes made by recent college grads
We surveyed over 250 HR professionals, recruiters, hiring managers, and career-service providers to find the most-common mistakes recent graduates make in their job searches. Here are the top five offenders:
Inappropriate or ineffective written communication (67%)
Being too informal with hiring managers (60%)
Not asking enough/appropriate interview questions (48%)
Arriving unprepared for the interview (47%)
Applying to unrealistic jobs (41%)
So college grads, are you guilty of anything on this list? Check out the video of our Facebook Live Chat to see Danny Rubin and I speak in depth about these job-search mistakes, and, more importantly, find out how you can avoid them!
Q1: I'm trying to get an informational interview. How can I connect with someone on LinkedIn if there is no email listed?
“How do I connect with someone new on LinkedIn when there is no email listed and I cannot find their work email through Google. Is it inappropriate to ask for an informational interview through a connection request?” — Roz
You may not be able to find this person's work email through Google, but have you tried searching through their company's website? If you still can't find it, you can even check out the company's email addresses that are public. There may be a pattern in those addresses, like “firstname.lastname@example.org.” If this is the case, you can take a guess at what this person's email address might be.
It may seem outdated, but picking up a phone and making a call is another valid approach. Call the office and ask for this person's email address. Or, if you're feeling daring, ask to speak to them directly. You never know — they may be totally willing to take the call! If that happens, it's showtime: Express your interest in the company and the work they do and ask for the informational interview. This approach can potentially help you foster an even stronger connection because speaking with someone in real time is much more personal than digital correspondence.
Google the person's name for more than an email address. Are they attending or speaking at an event sometime soon? You can seek them out there. Do they have a blog? You may be able to contact them through that.
Finally, don't forget about groups on LinkedIn. If that person is involved in any groups, you can join those and begin communicating through them. This approach gives an added bonus because you get to meet other professionals in the group too.
Q2: How do I know what kind of language to use when emailing with recruiters?
“When emailing with recruiters, should I always mirror their style of greeting?” — Trushart
The rule of thumb is to always let the other person make the first move. Start off formal with a traditional “Hello Mr. Smith.” Then, let them tell you how they like to communicate. If they keep up the formality, stick with it because that's the kind of language they prefer to use. If they start using exclamation marks and emoticons, that's your invitation to use them too. It's just like in-person networking — you want to match the tone of voice of the person you are communicating with.
Q3: How should I respond if someone asks me if I am money motivated?
“What do I say if I am asked if I'm money motivated?” — Avidan
This is a unique question that will probably only be asked if you are interviewing for a position in which money plays a big role — sales, brokerage, or any position that involves a commission. Like with any interview question, the most important thing is that you are honest. If you're not, the job isn't a good fit for you anyway!
Q4: Should volunteer experience be included on my resume?
“Do I mention volunteer experience on my resume?” — Trushart
Yes, especially if the work you are doing is relevant to your job goals. Skill-based volunteering can be a great addition to your experience (and therefore your resume) because you are building skills that make you valuable to a company. You don't necessarily have to be paid for a job for it to be beneficial to your career. For more information, you can check out this article I wrote on how to add volunteer experience to your resume.
Plus, volunteer experience can also provide potential talking points in an interview — they can provide great anecdotes for answering certain types of interview questions. Volunteering makes you a more well-rounded person, which is something an employer will take note of when they see it on your resume.
Q5: What are some job-search tips specifically for people over 50 years old?
“Do you have any special advice for applicants who are over 50?” — Maria
We've been talking about college graduates and that one of their biggest struggles is being under qualified. Well, for older applicants, the challenge can be exactly the opposite — many times they are overqualified. Why would that be an issue? Well, if an employer is looking to hire someone with 10 years' experience, they likely do not have the budget to pay for someone with 20 years' experience. One of the best ways to combat this is to limit your resume to the most-recent 15 years of your career.
We will actually be doing a live chat on this exact topic in the coming months, so stay tuned! In the meantime, check out this article to read more ways to overcome ageism in the job search.
Click on the following link for more job-search advice.
Hey grads, are you making resume mistakes as well? Submit your resume for a free resume critique and we'll tell you where you stand.