Posted March 27, 2015 by

Why Graduates Lose Out on Jobs and How to Avoid It

Amy Klimek photoYou’ve taken dozens of classes and have finally graduated. Congratulations to those college graduates ready to take on the world. Although you have all the textbook intelligence, you may be lacking in everyday lay knowledge. Landing yourself a job isn’t as easy as writing out all your achievements on a resume. There are preparations before an interview and considerations to pay attention to during the meeting. If you aren’t careful, you could lose out on a lucrative position you were perfect for otherwise. Take a look at some of the reasons why interviews don’t go well and how to avoid them.

Interview Attire is Questionable

It’s not the 1950s anymore with suits being the only clothing possible for an interview, but you don’t want to look like a slob either. Wearing dress slacks, shirt and jacket for men is necessary for even the most entry-level jobs. If the position is in the warehouse wearing jeans, you still need to shine on interview day without the denim intact. Women can wear pantsuits, dresses or skirts. They should be appropriate for the workplace, eliminating low necklines and tank-top styling. Be conservative and professional to land that job.

Your Resume Reads like a Book

Employers receive hundreds of resumes for just one position. They can’t possibly read every word, making it critical to have a concise resume to blow them away. Pinpoint all your education and experience, but avoid a book on each skill set. You can always elaborate on your talents in the interview. Go over all your talents that fit the employer precisely. They will use those keywords to filter out applicants that don’t fit the mold. Ideally, a resume for a college graduate should be about one page long. Education and internships are normally your only real experiences at this point.

Did you Research the Company?

Showing up ill-prepared to an interview is almost an automatic removal from the potential employee list. Employers want to see that you are truly interested in the company and industry. If you know nothing about the construction industry, for instance, how could you be an asset to the company? Looking up the company history, perusing the website and reading over the social media posts are perfect ways to familiarize yourself with the industry, people and company culture. It’s not required to be an expert, but at least have a working knowledge of key company aspects.

The Body Language Factor

You’ve probably heard about body language and its impact on the interviewer. In fact, your body speaks more words than you do in one interview alone. Keep your back straight while standing or sitting. Don’t fidget with your hands or hair. Keep strong eye contact with the employer, but don’t stare them down. Overall, you should appear professional yet relaxed to really engage with the interviewer. The best interviews please both parties, creating a temporary bond that can work in your favor.

Follow-Up Courtesies are Lacking

When the interview goes well, it’s easy to forget you still have responsibilities toward that employer. About a week after the interview, give the interviewer a call or send a card thanking them for the meeting. Go over a few highlights, but don’t overwhelm them with information. If they really appreciated your talents, they will be in contact. When you don’t follow-up at all, employers may think you aren’t that excited about the position. They want to see a positive personality and someone they can work with easily.

You’re Too Aggressive During a Follow-Up Conversation

The flip side to the follow-up coin is being too aggressive. When you call every day after an interview, it’s too much for the interviewer. They have other duties than to cater to your multiple phone calls. One follow-up call or letter is appropriate. Allow the interviewer to contact you if they want to communicate again. Literally harassing an employer is a turn off and almost never secures you a position.

The Social Media Aspect

Only a decade ago, you could have a private life without any evidence of wrongdoing, such as having too much to drink one New Year’s Eve night. However, today’s social media outlets allow you to document almost every aspect of your life. Before even applying for a job, look over all your accounts. Questionable social media information should be removed if possible. Employers do count these items as pictures of your personality and work ethic. Keep your social media accounts as clean and professional as possible. You don’t want a bad night to stop you from having a successful career.

With these interview factors in mind, take on the next meeting with the ultimate confidence. When you display controlled passion, employers notice so be their version of the perfect employee. You never know when the perfect job will pop up in your daily travels.

Amy Klimek is an experienced HR recruiter and VP of Human Resources for ZipRecruiter, a company that simplifies the hiring process for small to medium size businesses and connects job seekers to finding employment. Prior to that Amy has held similar roles at, eBay and US Interactive.

For Amy, corporate culture isn’t about dogs and free lunches, it’s about empowering employees and creating an enriching environment for people to excel.

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