While some of the estimated 3.8 million students earning college degrees this year will continue their studies, others will start their careers right away. Here is a rundown of five of the biggest college graduate career mistakes, along with tips to avoid them:
Believing first jobs have to be dream jobs
Your first job out of college is just that — your first job and a steppingstone to something better.
"It's fine to have an end goal in mind," said James Rice, the head of digital marketing at WikiJob. "But the reality is that you're unlikely to walk into that role straight after university, so don't pass up on great roles that will give you the skills and experience you will ultimately need to land that dream job."
Waiting until graduation to network
Some students mistakenly feel that they have to wait until they graduate to network for possible internships and jobs. In actuality, they should start networking as soon as they enter college.
Graduates who put off networking until after getting their degrees might not secure employment as fast as those who had four-year head starts. Using a résumé from a cookie-cutter
Hiring managers are good at spotting cookie-cutter or generic résumés, and this type of laziness can result in missed opportunities.
Customizing a résumé might consume more of your time, as you will need to include language and keywords from the job description. But the effort pays off in that you are more likely to stand out from the crowd.
Being afraid to take risks
Eric Brantner, co-founder of Scribblrs.com, a website that offers blogging tips, says your 20s are the best time to take risks.
"The biggest mistake I see is college grads feeling they have to take the first big corporate job that comes their way for security," said Brantner. "This is your chance to go out on your own and be an entrepreneur without the stresses of raising a family."
Accepting a bad job
Some graduates are so desperate for work that they are willing to accept any position that comes along.
"It's important to get a job, but it's also worth waiting if the only offers you have are for jobs outside your field or area of expertise," said Jim Wang, founder of the money blog Wallet Hacks Wang.