Running an executive search firm, not only do we come in contact with many recent college graduates, but we also coach some recent college graduates who have had trouble finding a job after college graduation.
When we first begin with these students, we have to break some of the bad habits that career counselors have bestowed upon them over the years. While one would assume that career center heads really know their stuff, much of the information given to recent grads searching for jobs is inaccurate and sometimes harmful.
Here are 5 of those pieces of bad advice that career centers give to students:
1. Resumes don’t have to be only one page regardless of level.
There is no law that says a resume has to be one page. In a sense, this is correct as a recent college graduate should not be presenting a 3 page resume. However, what the career centers fail to see is that many of the students put their names in a large font, as well as their education and interest which takes up 1/2 of the Word document before they even get to the important information which, as a result must be truncated.
2. Career centers don’t grasp the fact that resumes are no longer printed out and read line by line.
Obviously, they are now read the same way this email is – on the computer screen. 90% of the recent college graduates we see don’t have bullet points, keywords, bolding, etc. to tailor the resume to someone who is quickly looking for a tidbit of information i.e. skills, not long paragraphs about their career ambitions which tell little to nothing about to what the job seeker can do for the employer.
3. The resume and cover letter should be written after the job description is read, rather than students having one or two resumes that they send out to the masses.
Each resume should have the skill sets that are asked for by the employer. Yes, employers want leaders, they want an entrepreneurial feel, etc., but deep down, they want someone who can complete the required tasks in an autonomous and effective manner.
4. They also lack in the ability to deter students from jobs that seem alluring, pay little and are too competitive to get.
While some may try to present more career options, they don’t execute on getting through to the students. For instance, 85% of the recent college graduates whom we coach want to be in the media/PR, etc. not being told that every job in the media is not created equal and is highly dependent on the company that you work for. We’ve seen was a single posting by Sony Entertainment for an entry-level administrative job receive 800 resumes within a week.
Al-Jazeera received over 8,000 resumes for roughly a 150 U.S. jobs they had open.
5. The college major does not hinder you from being successful or should not deter anyone from applying to a job.
Many students who are not in business are guided towards other careers when, in fact a good percentage of the most successful Americans majored in Liberal Arts. It’s America, you can do anything you want to do and should never be apologetic about what you studied in college.
Ken Sundheim is the CEO of KAS Placement, an executive recruitment agency specializing in sales and marketing recruitment. Learn more about Ken and KAS here: http://www.kasplacement.com or follow Ken on Twitter @ken_sundheim
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