Categorized | Career

Five New Grad Job Myths

Posted on 07 October 2008

Whether it’s well-meaning parents or friends dishing out career advice, sometimes those looking for employment can get faulty guidance. Believing the following myths can hold back job seekers from finding and getting a good job after graduation.

Myth #1: I will need to take the first job I am offered.

If you’ve kept your finances under control throughout college, you won’t need to worry about financial disaster. However, if you have debt, don’t allow it to force you to make a hasty career move.

  • For each job offer you receive, write out a pro/con list. It’s important to carefully evaluate every offer.
  • Don’t take a job you have a bad feeling about or if the work is not what you want to do. Also think about how the job will fit in with your skill set. If after close evaluation, the job doesn’t fit your needs, remember other offers will come along.
  • An inflated salary or title can cloud your reasoning. While one job may pay less, you may get more hands-on experience. This will prove more valuable in the future.Myth #2: My college activities will score me a job.

    This is one of the most widely believed myths. While getting involved in activities may boost your experience level, can they really get your foot in the door? They can if you network with the people in the activities. Here are some tips to make the most of your activities:

  • Network with your classmates. They may know someone who is hiring. Remember, networking should be reciprocated. When you have a hot tip on a job, let your friend know.
  • Get to know your professors. Not only can they be a terrific reference, they can give you job leads.
  • Be a participant. Don’t just go to meetings and sit there. Volunteer for events, take leadership roles,and be active!Myth #3: Temping is the perfect solution while I figure out what I want to do.

    Unless you are faced with an eviction notice or suffering from hunger, avoid temping. While it may temporarily pay the bills and give you something to do, it can ruin your resume. A potential employer will look at your resume and think that you lack direction. Employers want to see that you’ve been consistently taking jobs which further your career. If your resume is spotted with temp assignments, they may wonder why you aren’t working in your career field. Here are some alternatives:

  • Internship. You don’t have to be in college to do an internship. Internships provide a paycheck, steady work environment and help you figure out your career path. You can also make some great contacts.
  • Volunteer work. While this won’t pay the bills, it will count as “real world” experience.
  • Part-time job. If you want to work full-time in a certain career field, but aren’t sure if you’ll like it, try going part-time.Myth #4: I will advance quickly in my first job.

    While some of your classmates may by lucky enough to be promoted within the first year, most won’t. For the first couple of years, take your time to learn how the company works. Here are some advancement tips:

  • Accept that entry-level jobs sometimes mean menial work. Everyone has to start somewhere. Smile and do your work cheerfully. Soon you’ll move up the ladder and be able to focus on work that’s meaningful for you.
  • Seek out the expertise and guidance of an older colleague. Not only can your mentor give you the inside scoop on the company, they’ll help you navigate the first crucial years of work.
  • Volunteer for projects. This does not mean trying to head up every social or volunteer event. Choose the projects which will show off your strengths.
  • Get to work early, stay late. This is one of the easiest keys to success.Myth #5: I should quit a job I don’t like within a few months so I don’t waste my time.

    If you find yourself in a job you don’t like, stick it out for at least a year. When you start looking for a new job, 12 months is your golden number. A potential employer may form an opinion of how good a worker you are by how you treated your prior job. Staying on the job at least a year shows that you can follow through on your commitments. Here are some ways to cope with a difficult job situation:

  • Evaluate why you took the job in the first place. Did you believe Myth #1? Were you desperate for a job? While it may seem unfair to have to live with your choice, try and make the best of it.
  • Start looking for jobs online and in your newspaper to get a feeling for what is out there. A few months before your planned departure, start sending out resumes. It will take that long (or longer) to find a job you’ll be happy doing.
  • Network with family and friends- let them know what kind of job you are seeking.
  • Take on projects at work which will boost your resume.
  • Keep doing a good job at work. Remember, your current employer will be a future reference.
  • Don’t tell anyone at work that you are thinking of leaving. Until you give your two weeks notice, keep your planned departure a secret. And who knows, you may change your mind down the road and start to like the job.
  • Focus on those things in life that make you happy. A job is just a job. Don’t let it get you down.The first few years after college are critical to your long-term career success. Now that you know the myths, banish them from your mind and have a happy and successful career life!
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