New grads get a lot of advice about their job search—and not all of it is good advice, according to Alison Green, an HR expert who writes the "Ask a Manager" blog.
In a recent article for U.S. News & World Report, she rounds up some of the most common pieces of bad advice new grads receive.
1. With a degree, you'll easily get a job in your field. Green notes that a degree certainly helps for getting a job—but many new grads land outside the field they were aiming for, and the search can take much longer than they predicted.
A recent study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that 44% of college grads are underemployed. Discussing the study, Matt Sigelman, CEO of Burning Glass Technologies, argued that many students have relevant degrees but lack "last-mile skills" that would improve their chances of getting a job.
2. Focus solely on academics while in college. Except in unusual circumstances, most students should try to gain some form of internship or work experience while in college, Green writes.
Paid interns are much more likely to receive job offers than individuals with no internship experience, according to a 2014 report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Some experts argue that the much-discussed "skills gap" might actually be a "work experience gap."
3 ways to make sure student internship experiences are valuable
3. Your resume and portfolio should highlight your grades and class work. College students are often told to spend a lot of time in the interview talking about their grades, courses, and classwork, Green writes. But, Green argues, employers care much more about your work experience and they're unlikely to be interested in a portfolio except in very specific fields like design.
One Google recruiter has said she spends just 30 seconds reviewing each candidate's resume—and in that quick skim, she skips over the resume's education section entirely.
4. Employers will be impressed by your guts. Most recent grads have heard some form of this advice: Walk into the office and ask for an interview! Call HR and ask about their open positions! Green warns that most organizations just want you to follow the instructions they've laid out in the job posting, and any attempt to apply in a different way is likely to leave a poor impression.
5. Describe your strengths on your resume. Green writes that she often sees new grads with resumes that include subjective descriptions, such as "detail-oriented." But, she points out, anyone can simply write this on a resume. Instead, she recommends focusing on listing specific examples that show evidence of the skill.
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