5 Common Mistakes That Recent Grads Make When Applying For Jobs

College Graduates Jumping For Joy


Entering the job market for the first time is always a scary thing. You have thousands of other graduates pining for the same jobs as you. 

But according to Richard Dukas, CEO of Dukas Public Relations, the majority of young people are having a hard time nailing down a job because they don’t know how to properly apply for one. 

In his latest blog post, Dukas says: 

“As someone who has read thousands of cover letters and resumes since I started my financial PR firm in 2002, I can categorically say that 99% of “kids today” do a terrible job of presenting and marketing themselves to prospective employers.  Their cover letters are generally boring and rambling, and their resumes are often sophomoric and unprofessional.”

Here are 5 most common, but no-so-obvious mistakes that Dukas says young people make with their cover letters and resumes:

1. Talking about yourself too much.

“It’s fine to talk about oneself somewhat, but you need to tell me what you can do for me. Why do you want to join my company? What is it about your skill set and previous experiences that make you a good fit for us?  

“Recently, I received what was generally a good cover letter, except the applicant started off every paragraph with either ‘I’ or ‘My.’ Many employers already see today’s youth as very self-indulgent and me-oriented.  Break the mould.”

2. Telling a company that they’d be a great place for you to “start” your career. 

According to Dukas, this is wrong: ” ‘I want to join Dukas Public Relations (DPR) because it will be a great place for me to start my career and learn about the PR industry.’ I am not your career counselor or friend.”

Instead, write this: “I want to join DPR because I love financial media and would find it very rewarding to regularly place clients on TV and in the newspaper.”

3. Long cover letters that focus on the wrong things. 

“If you’re a recent college graduate, chances are that you haven’t had too much relevant experience, which is OK.  But don’t write 500 words about how your experience as a waitress or a customer service rep taught you the importance of timeliness, maintaining a positive attitude, or how to deal with people effectively.

“Get to the point quickly and keep it simple and relevant – and don’t try to fake it if you don’t have the right experience; for example: ‘Although I don’t have hands-on financial PR experience, I understand the power of the media and its role in determining consumer and investor behaviour.’ “

4. Putting irrelevant experiences on resumes.  

“If your resume is filled with the typical summer jobs, there is no need to list 7-8 bullet points under each, trying to explain all of the things you did there. Chances are that employers don’t really care too much about what you did on an internship or summer job, they just want to know that you had one.”

5. Don’t forget to tell the employer something that proves you did some research. 

Understand the difference between this company and the numerous other ones similar to it. What sets it apart? Figure this out and relay what you know to the employer. 

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