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5 Common Mistakes When Applying for Graduate Jobs

Posted by Devina Tarin

Applying for Graduate Jobs

As a graduate or a student in your penultimate year, you can’t be expected to know everything there is to know and so there are bound to be mistakes made. These mistakes usually revolve around the graduates and students that are looking for or applying for their first graduate job. For those in their penultimate year or have already graduated and are still seeking or starting to apply for a graduate job, there are a few things to look out for to be able to get the most out of it. A few mistakes that students and graduates make with job seeking and during the process of application include1:

  1. Not applying enough
  2. This is a mistake students often make, narrowing down to their preferences and losing great work opportunities.  Although considering the number of employers to apply to that have the same morale views. What is recommended for job seekers is to apply to 30-40 jobs, to look for alternatives and broaden your chances, however do not apply for any and every job available but a job that suits your field.
  1. Only applying online
  2. Students and graduates that are seeking for graduate jobs and applying should know that applying through only one platform, more specifically applying online on their website, would lessen your chances in getting called from the employer. Applying online is not a bad thing but it requires the least effort and doesn’t help with showcasing how you are in person. If you are applying for jobs, it is recommendable to apply through all sorts of platforms for the job, both online and offline applications, and also connect yourself with people that are working with the employer you want.
  1. Not enough networking
  2. It is recommended for students to have your own network with as many people as you can, whether or not they’re from your immediate circle. Staying in contact with lots of people can help you in the long run when you’re looking for recruitments as they’ll become a helpful source in getting you the job. These networks can help you with what you may need for the job (e.g. interviewing, making your resume, etc.). Going to conferences, events, and fairs would be a good start to creating your network.
  1. Using the wrong social media
  2. Although there are numerous numbers of social media, LinkedIn is the social media platform that you should be using if you are seeking for a job.  It is recommended to already have a LinkedIn profile by the time you graduate and it’s even better if you have started building it since you were still a student starting university. Using LinkedIn can link you to a number of people that may be of importance in the future; it could also help you with building your network.
  1. Giving up too early
  2. Applying for jobs means that you will be competing with several other students and graduates that also want the job. For recruiters it becomes a long day and in most cases, you may not hear from them after applying, but this doesn’t mean you should give up. If you do not hear from the jobs that you applied for, it is recommended that you take action to find and apply for more positions. Tap into your own network and ask if there are any job openings where they’re working. Limit yourself also means that you’re limiting your opportunities and applying for other positions that are still in your field may help you maximise your job search.

It is common for students and graduates to make mistakes during the application process and these are a few points that you may be able to reflect on yourself. However, these aren’t the only mistakes that students make.  Communication between a job seeker and employer is usually reflected on their quality of work2.

  1. Be Clear
  2. As a young employee, expressing yourself clearly to employers may be difficult, whether it be through writing or oral. Being able to express, communication and explain yourself and your work etiquette. Having good communication skills does not only does this apply to obvious jobs such as marketing, consulting and other careers that require a lot of communication, but it also applies to many others. Communication is a central part of work to avoid miscommunication and misunderstandings between one another, whether it be a workmate or potential client.
    During an interview, make sure not to recite what you’ve written in your resume. Make sure to get your message across without having to repeat your words and be clear about who you are and what you can do. By doing this, you are able to show how well you can communicate in the future with work members, clients and other important people on the job. 
  1. Social Media
  2. Social media is considered to be one of the fastest way to communicate with one another and also the most effective when looking for a job. However, the downside to social media is that it damaged graduates’ the ability of communicating professionally. Social media style of writing is succinct and usually ignores the basic professional writing etiquette. Although social media has changed the interactions between job seekers and employers, it is important not to forget the professional protocol.

These are small, common mistakes that students and graduates do that could be avoided and even help you with job applications. Having communication skills in both oral and writing is also something that can be improved with time and experience, however it is important to be familiar with the professional protocol.


1 Adams, S. 2013, 5 Mistakes College Job Seekers Make, http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2013/04/22/5-mistakes-college-job-seekers-make
2 Nguyen, A. 2015, The biggest writing mistakes new graduates make, http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20150915-the-biggest-writing-mistakes-new-graduates-make


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