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College Grads: 3 Beliefs That'll Keep You Unemployed

NewGradLifeThis post was contributed by New Grad Life, a website dedicated to providing free resources to recent college graduates or soon-to-be grads for job hunting, resume and interview help, networking tips, money management, and more.

Many college students will discover a harsh transition from campus life to the current job market, especially the ones who falsely believe these things: 1) That their degree entitles them to a job; 2) That they'll easily land their ideal job; and 3) That they're all set if they have friends in high places. If you believe these things, then the sooner you lose these cocky assumptions, the better your chance at conducting a successful job search.

Here's the thinking you need to change:

1. "I deserve a job because I worked hard to get my degree."

Do you believe you're entitled to a job just because you worked long and hard for your degree? Yes, dedication and hard work go a long way, but that only guarantees that you'll graduate, not land a job. Some students say their excellent GPAs, extracurricular involvement, internship experience, or even the coursework within their majors entitles them to a high-paying, entry-level position at a Fortune 500 company. All these factors should help you in your job search, but none are golden tickets to employment.

Instead, you should make a list of your work experience, skills, and qualifications and figure out how you can best present yourself.  Then, use job interviews as opportunities to explain to hiring managers why you're the best candidate for the job.

Stop believing: "I deserve a job because I worked hard to get my degree."
Start thinking: "How can I show companies that I am the best possible candidate for this job?"

2. "That's not my ideal job, so I won't bother applying."

The recession has decreased the number of jobs available to recent graduates, and many of the remaining openings are not the kind new grads usually think of as "ideal." The most common reasons new grads cite for not applying include:

  • Salary is too low.
  • Job title and duties are not important enough.
  • Location is not close to family or friends.
  • Industry or company is not their favorite.

Have you overlooked a job for any of those reasons? The biggest differentiator for you as a college graduate in this economic climate should be having a job vs. not having a job, not living in Seattle vs. Miami, or working in the tech industry vs. the entertainment industry. You need to realize that a job that reasonably falls within your major is a pathway to career advancement, networking opportunities, and, of course, income.

Stop believing: "That's not my ideal job, so I won't bother applying."
Start thinking: "This job gets my foot in the door, gives me experience, and the connections I make here could prove to be invaluable in the future." 

3. "If I only knew the CEO/VP of a company, my life would be set!"

Here's a commonly believed scenario from a recent New Grad Life post, Debunking Job Networking Myths for College Grads

Grad:  I know Darren—he's a big shot at Accenture. He said you'd give me a job.

Recruiting Director: Of course, I will. You're hired. We'll see you on Monday morning at 9:00. I'm assuming $200,000 will work for you as your new IT Specialist salary.

Sadly, that's not how job networking works. It's not about being handed a job on a silver platter because you know someone. Rather, it's about getting noticed and standing out from the crowd because of a referral.

Yes, you may get sent to the hiring manager's office for an interview quicker when you have someone referring you than when you don't. But once you're there, it's up to you to get the job. Can you prove to the interviewer that you're qualified? Are you likable and confident? If not, the referral is wasted.

Stop believing: "If I only knew the CEO/VP of a company, my life would be set!"
Start thinking: "Networking won't guarantee me a job, but it should get me an interview faster.

RELATED LINKS

Class of 2010: 3 Golden Keys to Job Hunting
What Counts as Experience on a College Grad's Resume
Class of '08: If We'd Known Then What We Know Now

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