Avoid These Costly Mistakes When Applying For Your First Job

We have written several different posts about landing that first great job. However, it is equally important to point out which mistakes to avoid making. I’ve been fortunate enough to have a lot of friends who are recruiters. I reached out to my one friend who has been very successful. Below is the exchange.


What are some of the most common mistakes you see new applicants making when trying to land their first job out of college?


For your question: Couple different thoughts. I asked a couple people on my team as well.

  • Candidates not open to opportunities that will grow their experience base and are very niche or specific to what they are looking for. Being open to a broader or entry level opportunity will help build up a person’s skill set before moving into more specialized roles.

  • When applying directly to companies they don’t tailor their resume or that they are afraid to directly follow up on an application or after an interview to see why the process may be taking some time.

  • Get reference letters, or at least having references ready to go via phone or email. The references aren’t usually caught off guard, but I have spoken to a few that were. Taking some extra time for candidates to speak to references and let them know what they are applying for so that they can help them win the job would go a long way.

  • Only looking for a specific pay rate and not interested in positions that might not be paying them what they are looking for

  • For new graduates, they may not have a lot of working experience that might be relevant to their future career. Really focusing on the skills developed in their degree to help add more content to their resume.


I am very grateful that she took the time to share her thoughts and I want to expand upon the answers she provided.


  • This ties back into a previous post. Be open to learning new things. It is amazing how many opportunities will appear for you if you are open to new experiences.

  • Your references can make or break you in the final steps during the interview process. Choose wisely.

  • This one can be tough. Most of the time we think we are worth more than what we are getting paid. But, right out of school it can be challenging to find a lucrative job. If you can get your foot in at a great company you will uncover boundless opportunity during your first year.

  • Competition is steep, it is paramount to find a way to stick out against other candidates. Did you have a study abroad? Did you run with a creative project? 


There are countless ways to land the right job for you out of college. But it is in your best interest to avoid making the mistakes outlined above. To find more help with landing the perfect role for you click here.

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