If you’re a college senior, you’re no doubt up to your ears in career advice. It seems like everyone from your mom to your mail carrier is telling you how to land a job after college.
But is anyone telling you what not to do?
It seems pointless, but understanding what actions will result in a never-ending job search is just as important as knowing how to answer the dreaded “What are your weaknesses?” question.
Here are five ways you could be unintentionally ruining your job search, and, more importantly, what you can do to avoid them:
Getting crazy on social media
By now, everyone should know that what you share on your social media profiles is fair game for employers. This means cleaning up inappropriate photos and language, but you also need to make a conscious effort to keep your future updates a little more PC, especially when talking about your job.
No one knows this better than Connor Riley, the would-be Cisco employee who tweeted “Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weight the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.” A Cisco employee saw the tweet and the company rescinded its offer.
Not doing any research
Going into a job interview without researching the company, the position, and even the hiring manager is like taking a final exam without cracking a textbook. The purpose of an interview is to see if you’re a good fit for the company, but you can’t do that if you don’t know anything about it.
Take the time to look over the company website and write down a few questions to ask the hiring manager. This will give you a much clearer vision of what you can expect if you receive an offer.
Using an old résumé.
Writing a résumé and cover letter for each position you apply for is a time-consuming but necessary part of the job hunt. You might be applying for similar positions, but you must tailor your documents to each company.
It’s also a good idea to review your résumé and cover letter before you apply anywhere to make sure you don’t have any mistakes. A 2012 Career Builder survey found that 61 percent of hiring managers won’t consider an employee with typos in his résumé. Don’t let a simple mistake keep you from landing your dream job.
Abandoning your networking connections
Networking is one of the best ways to land a job, but it’s important to maintain those connections even after you sign an offer. You never know what will happen in the future, and if someone feels like you used him for his connections, he’s much less likely to want to help you out in the future.
Understandably, it’s not always easy to keep up with people when you’ve got a full-time job, but something as simple as a monthly email can make a world of difference.
Holding out for a specific job
Going from college to the working world is a big adjustment, as is realizing that your $40,000 degree doesn’t necessarily guarantee you to your dream job. Rather than “holding out for a management position” a la Cousin Eddy in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” be prepared to start at the bottom and work your way up.
Many of the most successful people in the world worked their way through the ranks, including Oprah, Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton and Michael Dell, who started his career as a dishwasher earning $2.30 per hour.