No matter who you are, the job search arena is a daunting place to be. Yet every June, most graduating students join the millions of Americans every year who compete intensively in the job hunt. Looking to rise above the competition, we rely on what we believe to be efficient networking skills, “magic” internships, and online resources to land that post-grad job.
But did you know that some of the most widely believed job-searching strategies could, in fact, be largely unhelpful? Read on as we debunk five of the most common job search myths, and see what changes you can make to find post-grad employment!
The Search Itself
Myth 1: Only seek paid employment
All of us dream of working full-time upon graduating, but in reality many of us will spend months and months with no job to speak of. While you should never stop your search, be sure to make room for other options in the interim as they may give you a start of some kind.
“In this economy, the job search for grads can take six to nine months,” says Bora Un, assistant director of Undergraduate Preparation at the University of Chicago. “In the meantime, find some volunteer work or internships to do that will add to your resume. You should still be searching for jobs, but even unpaid activities can let you acquire the soft skills that employers seek.”
And collegiettes seem to be gradually figuring that out for themselves, too.
“Out of school, I’ve been looking for internships as well as jobs,” admits Alexandra Churchill, Her Campus editorial intern and graduating journalism student from the University of New Hampshire. “You have to be able to consider internships and entrepreneurial work, too, or you will not survive in this economy.”
Alexandra, for her part, has accepted an unpaid magazine journalism internship over the summer to prepare herself for any future career in the field. Though the pressure to clinch that post-grad job is overwhelming, be open to any opportunity! Unpaid positions can turn into a full-time job, so you just never know when they might help.
Myth 2: All employment websites are helpful
While big job sites like Monster.com can be useful, career counselors are urging newly graduated students to limit their reliance on them. Sure, you’re getting your resume out there. Sure, you’re giving yourself more of a chance to be picked up by an employer. But unknown to many college grads, the online job site can actually work against you.
“With most online job centers, you’re dealing with factors that disadvantage you in the job search,” explains Tom Dezell, professional career advisor and author of Networking for the Novice, Nervous, or Naïve Job Seeker. “You’re facing the most competition possible, and you’re not targeting a specific employer so your resume just looks generic.”
Instead, Dezell suggests finding online job boards specialized by profession or by entry-level jobs, like Ed2010 for magazines and Dice for tech jobs. Or, if you do see a specific employer on a job site that interests you, resist submitting the generic resume associated with your account and directly send them one that’s tailored to their company needs. Not only will you open yourself to employers seeking your exact qualifications, but the chances that you’ll land a job in your desired field are much higher!