Editor’s note: A version of this article originally appeared on The University of Oregon’s Career Center blog.
I graduated from the University of Oregon with a packed resume in 2011, including five internships, and figured all my career dreams would fall into place with ease. But after sending out resumes and cover letters for six months, I landed only two phone interviews.
My positive spirit was slowly crushed and as the weeks and months passed, I realized my dream job simply wasn’t coming to fruition. For most of 2012, I was a waitress to pay the bills.
My plan was to work part-time while I continued to pursue my career goals on the side. However, as months passed, I got so burnt out that I put my career search on hiatus.
In 2013, I re-evaluated my job search tactics. I knew I had a great resume for a recent graduate, so what was I doing wrong?
It turns out my biggest mistake had been my approach to my job search. Don’t do these four things when looking for work:
Confidence is a great quality, but you have to maintain a sense of realism. I wasted my time applying for jobs I wasn’t qualified for. It’s an employers market right now, and if a job posting asks for five years of experience, you can bet that’s the minimum required.
Forget your online presence
I was applying for positions that had a social media component, yet I wasn’t engaging in my own accounts – that doesn’t leave a great impression! I hadn’t even listed my college graduation on my LinkedIn profile, let alone all the internships I had completed. My blog hadn’t been updated in nearly a year; it had broken links, and a two-year old resume in the portfolio section. Make sure your online presence is in tip-top shape before you even send out that first resume.
I knew I should be networking, but it sounded uncomfortable and so I never even tried. I didn’t request an informational interview or attend any networking events, and obviously wasn’t meeting anyone on LinkedIn or Twitter.
At the time, I thought I could just skip over this step. I was so confident my dream job would be around the corner, why do something that was intimidating?
Apply only to online job postings
As a result of the mistakes mentioned above, I only applied to online postings. I had four to five places I would look every week, and that’s it. The problem with this tactic is that 200+ other individuals are applying for those jobs too! In today’s market, only 80% of jobs are ever posted, and a handful of those are already filled with in-house candidates so a posting is often just a legal requirement. This is why networking is so important.