For as much as we pay to go to college, we don’t always learn everything we need to prepare for post-grad life (aka “the real world”). For those of us who are a few years out of college, we remember the struggle of finding a job -- having to craft just the right resume, answering interviewers’ questions right, making sure you track all your job applications -- admittedly, it’s not fun. But because the job search is something most of us will have to go through in our lives, we’ve put together these three tips for fresh job seekers so that you don’t have to make these mistakes yourselves.
Listing experience from high school on your resume
Why it’s bad: Your time in college are some of your most transformative years, which should mean that you've taken advantage of awesome classes where you learned a lot; joined some amazing organizations on campus that you cared about; or got real work experience as an intern, in a co-op program, or in a job that helped you pay for tuition. If your resume focuses only on the things you did in high school, it’ll look like you either were too lazy to be bothered with updating it or completely unmotivated to do anything outside of class. And you don’t want the hiring manager to think that about you.
What to do instead: Maybe you spent a lot of time on studying instead of rushing for a frat or joining the on-campus rights advocate group, so your resume looks a little bare if you remove the high school stuff. That’s okay! While the most ideal things you can include on your resume are internships and job experience, it’s not impossible to have a fleshed out summary doc of who you are; you’ll just need to get creative with reframing your college years so that it’s resume-ready.
Think about the class projects that you’ve been a part of, or any side projects outside of class that you took on, like all the times you flyered for your best friend’s basement shows or organized the weekly gaming tournament with people from your dorm. But if you still have more time in college that you want to take advantage of to prep for the post-grad life, check out 5 things you can do that will help you fill out your resume.
Taking the internet for granted
Why it’s bad: The job search can be overwhelming, especially if you’re new to it. And if you don’t have access to a mentor or career coach to help walk you through it, chances are that you’ll stumble quite a bit as you slowly learn how to navigate the interview process.
What to do instead: Even for seemingly silly questions like, “Should I bring my coffee cup into an interview?” or “Should I send a thank you email or card after an interview?”, it doesn’t hurt to look it up, even if you probably know the answer. Of course, you don’t need to listen to every piece of advice you read out there, but it helps to get other people’s perspectives before coming to your own conclusions, especially if it’s on a topic that has a lot of differing opinions.
There are a lot of unspoken rules and etiquette that you’re just kind of expected to know before you even start, and the internet can be your multi-tool for every step of the way, helping you learn all sorts of things from learning to craft your resume to strategizing your salary negotiation.
Asking about benefits before things get serious
Why it’s bad: Even as an entry level candidate, you should have some idea as to what your starting salary range should be. But if you're going into an interview (whether on the phone or in person) and asking about benefits right off the bat, it comes across to the hiring manager that you're more focused on what they can do for you instead of the other way around.
What to do instead: Luckily for you, jobs on Planted list out salary, and we encourage our partner companies to share their benefits in their job descriptions so that you can decide if the opportunity makes sense for you before you even apply. But for those situations where the company is vague with the deets, you'll usually want to wait until you're at least past the first in-person interview. By that point you've warmed up the hiring manager, so they probably won't mind answering if they're taking you into serious consideration. Even if you find out later in the process that the job isn't quite what you want, at least you'll be getting that interview experience.
As a college student or recent college graduate, you want to show hiring managers that you’re ready for that next step in your life: building your career! Read up on some more tips for your job hunt on the Planted blog . Or if you’re ready to get a move on, sign up for Planted and we’ll show you jobs at companies that we think you’ll want to grow with.