If you’ve recently graduated or are about to graduate with your advanced degree, chances are you’re searching for a job. Ongoing media coverage of a tough economy and an even tougher job market can be extremely disheartening, but here’s some good news to soak up: according to a report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate has gone down. As of November 2012, unemployment is at 7.7 percent, which is much more encouraging than last year’s 8.7 percent.
There are numerous jobs open to postgraduates with science-based degrees, but keep in mind, just as easily as you can find a great job opening, you can knock yourself out of the running for it by committing a job search faux pas. That said, here are three job hunting don’ts you should definitely avoid while searching for your next career step.
Don’t depend on job postings to let you know about job openings
Job postings are a great place to start your job search, but they should never be the end-all-be-all of your conquest. It’s much wiser to cast a wide net and keep your eyes and ears open. Start by checking job postings, but also meet with professors, former employers, internship advisors, career counselors, trusted colleagues, and any people you know in the industry in order to find out about open positions. As long as you’re open to the world about your search, you’ll likely find out about some jobs that never make their way onto job postings.
It’s also helpful to do some research on companies in cities you’re hoping to work and contact them to see if they have any available openings. Don’t be lazy and just email your cover letter and resume along to every Tom, Dick, and Harry you come across on the internet. Offer to meet potential employers over coffee or in their office in order to form a more personal connection. The more enthusiastic and passionate you seem in person, the more likely the company will want to consider you for an open position.
Don’t abuse LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a wonderful website to peruse if you’re searching for a potential job or future employer, but remember, LinkedIn is a social media website. That said, you should never attempt to connect to people you don’t know that well or, worse, don’t know at all. Though the website has evolved through the years, LinkedIn still has a set of implied etiquette rules, and you should never break those rules simply because you think a person might be a good career contact.
If you see somebody on LinkedIn that you think might be able to help you find a great job or is currently offering a great job, get in touch the appropriate way. Call the receptionist at the company they work for and request their contact information, and then go from there. Contact the person and tell them a bit about yourself. By keeping it informal and light, the person won’t feel like you’re just trying to use them. Focusing on getting to know more about the person and their body of work, and when the time is right, briefly tell them about your career aspirations.
Don’t underperform at your current job
A lot of postgraduates take jobs they aren’t all that serious about until they find the job of their dreams. Believe me, there is no shame in taking a job in order to support yourself. Everyone needs to eat, but just because you’ve taken a job you don’t intend to keep forever doesn’t mean you should underperform at your job.
People who are looking for new jobs have a tendency of letting their current job slip by doing things like scheduling interviews during work hours, searching the internet for job postings, letting their workload pile up, missing workdays for interviews, and a myriad of other things. Don’t put your current job in jeopardy while searching for a new job. Keep your mind focused on your current job during the work day, and when you’re off the clock, start looking for the job of your dreams. It’s not fair to the company you’re currently working for to not do your best job each and every day.
When you’re ready to find a job, it’s easy to resort to anything and everything to get what you want. There are some things, however, you should never do in your quest for a job. Always remember that, and happy hunting!
Kate Willson is a blogger for Collegecruch.org. She is passionate about providing helpful information to incoming college students and parents and is always pleased to hear from readers.