Top 7 Graduate Mistakes When Applying For A Job

Author: Emma Allison

It’s that time of the year – Uni is over and thousands of grads are glued to job boards, Twitter and Linkedin to find their first job. Finding your first commercial full time role can be quite daunting, so to help all new graduates I’ve listed 7 common graduate mistakes we see graduates make, from writing a CV to starting a new role.

1)      CV far too long – employers and recruiters are bombarded with CVs. If they see one over three pages, they’re likely to be put off. Eliminate emphasis on flowery words such as "passionate", "motivated" or "hard-working". Get to the point and show an employer what you can really do for them. Relevant experience is the most important thing to highlight. 

2)      Applying for every job out there –  There is nothing worse than receiving a generic CV that places no emphasis on the specific industry you really want to get your foot into. This is another pitfall that might put recruiters or companies off and can be avoided by simply investing some time into tailoring your CV to the role you have applied for. Quality over quantity!

3)      Don’t sound half asleep when you answer the phone – You’ve sent off hundreds of CV’s, now you deserve a good rest right? Wrong!! We all know that the University body clock operates on different time zones than the rest of the working world, but try to snap out of it and treat your job search as a 9-5 job. It’s very obvious when a recruiter or company calls you at 12pm and you’ve just woken up. It amuses us no end, but impresses no-one!

4)      Show passion for the opportunity, not the salary! The interviewee wants you to demonstrate what you can bring to the business and the opportunity. Asking questions about the salary, and company benefits rather than what you can bring to the organisation is a big turn off, and should always be left to the end of an interview process.

5)      Prepare fully for an interview. Simply hoping for the best will not get you the job! Researching the company, their brand, website, latest PR and company values will leave you well prepared! There is nothing worse than being asked what you know about the company you want to join and having done no research – treat it like you’re preparing for an exam!

6)      Minimise nights out on a school night. You’ve started your new job, but a few of your mates are still on the dole and hitting it hard 2 or 3 nights a week at the best student nights. As tempting as it may be, try to keep these nights out down to a minimum unless you’re sure you can operate on 5 hours sleep and a monster hangover. Give the quadruple vodka red bull a miss, the impression you make in your first year may define the way your colleagues think of you for your entire career with that company.

7)      No more essays. Unless your job is to be a writer, business documents and emails need to be punchy and concise. Use lots of bullet points. You’ll be relieved to know that you’ll probably never need to write another 2000 word essay in any context in business!

Henna Baig graduated in 2013 and learnt some of the lessons in this blog the hard way this year! She is Forward Role’s newest consultant, specialising in the recruitment of Graphic Designers, Web, UX, UI Design and Development professionals in the North West. For any career advice or a confidential chat about a new job in creative, design or agency please visit http://www.forwardrolerecruitment.co.uk/job-types/creative-design-agency/ or contact her on 0161 914 8562 & Henna@forwardrolerecruitment.com

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