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Posted June 25, 2016 by

The #1 student job search mistake

As an Associate Career Services Director for the University of Michigan and the CEO of Break into Tech, I’ve had the privilege to work with hundreds of students during the job search while trying to launch their careers. And it’s an area I’m particularly proud to support, having leveraged my own student experience to land roles at Apple, LinkedIn, and startups.

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

But the one thing that shocks me time and again is that 95% of students make the same mistake when it comes to landing a job. And no, it’s not a bad resume, or a poorly written cover letter or even weak interview skills. Instead, it’s that most basic trait:

Humility.

Yes, humility.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Huh? How hard could it be to act humble?”

But here’s the real deal. That same confidence is a handicap. Because it blinds students to just how hard it is to stay humble in a world where everyone always has to be on, to constantly present their best self.

As evidence, allow me to submit my experience as a Michigan alum working at LinkedIn:

  • Every single day during application season, I’d received at least one email from a current student who wanted to work in Silicon Valley
  • Usually, those emails started out: “Dear Jeremy, I’m XXX and I’d really like to work at LinkedIn…”
  • Eventually I’d get on the phone with these students, and they’d spend the first 15 minutes of the call telling me about themselves, and the last 15 minutes asking me if I could help them get a job.
  • Then, I’d never hear from them again.

On the other hand, about 2-3 times a year, the sequence would go very differently:

  • I’d get an email from a student well before application season that said: “Dear Jeremy, As a a Michigan student, I was so excited to come across your profile today. I can’t tell you how inspiring it was to find someone who’s walked your path. I know you must be really busy, but would you ever have a few minutes to share your story with me?”
  • When I got on the phone with them, we’d spend 15 minutes talking about my experience, followed by 15 minutes of them asking me for my advice about really tricky career questions.
  • Then they’d follow-up the next month to wish me a happy holiday or update me on campus. And they’d continue to do that each month with cool articles they found or little tidbits of school news.
  • Then, only when application season finally rolled around, would they ever ask for support during the application process.

And sure enough, about 2-3 times a year, I’d write an internal recommendation for a student, basically guaranteeing them an interview.

Now, any guesses which students I went to bat for?

Hopefully that illuminates two things about the job search:

BUT

  • You’ve got to network in the right way – the humble way.

Which means no:

  • Waiting until application season to reach out – you need to build relationships in advance; not at the last second.
  • Focusing all the attention on yourself – you need to build a real relationship; not just a transaction.
  • One shot networking – you need to build a relationship over time, not in a single phone call. This aids your job search.

So consider yourself warned. Yes, humility is critical to your job search success. But don’t assume it’s going to be easy. Instead, make it a priority and work hard at it. And then you can avoid the biggest mistake that’s trapped so many others!

Jeremy Schifeling, CEO of Break Into Tech

Jeremy Schifeling, CEO of Break Into Tech

Need more help networking and figuring out how to build great relationships on your way to finding a great entry-level job? College Recruiter can help. Keep reading our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Jeremy Schifeling is the Founder + Chief Nerd at Break into Tech, a site for anyone who wants to land an awesome tech job, no matter their background. Get a free guide to the seven ultimate secrets that took Jeremy from school to Silicon Valley!

Posted October 07, 2015 by

Getting into the job search routine after vacation

Job search career hiring opportunity employment concept

Job search career hiring opportunity employment concept. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Late summer and early fall brings many things. The welcome scent of pumpkin spice wafts through our favorite coffee shops, department stores inexplicably begin decorating for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and college students begin returning to school after a restful summer vacation. If you are one of these college students, you are probably just beginning to get back into the groove of things. You’ve probably begun adjusting to a new sleep schedule, memorized where your classes are, and otherwise made the transition back to school. This is great, but have you also gotten your job search on track? After all, if you are like most students, looking for a job was probably not a high priority over the summer. Now that you are back in school and getting back to business, why not kick your job search efforts into high gear? (more…)

Posted August 18, 2015 by

Four things to do after your job interview

job applicant having interview. handshake while job interviewing

Job applicant having interview. Handshake while job interviewing. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Getting to the interview stage of your job application is an achievement on its own. In today’s competitive world, everything does not come the easy way and same goes for the job. Especially during the number crunching economic times, it is terrifyingly difficult to find a decent white collar job. This is why an interview chance is one of the best opportunities you can grab, more so if you are a fresh graduate looking to find a good job. When you reach to the interview stage, there are several things you must do the right way if you wish to have any solid chance of consideration after the interview session. (more…)

Posted July 16, 2015 by

Preparing for a Job in the Computer Science Industry

Deborah Anderson photo

Deborah Anderson

It is tricky finding a job anytime, but especially in this economy (which goes back to the crash in 2008). Fortunately, straight out of college, with no experience, graduates will find that the going is a bit easier than those with experience.

Why is that? As you gain experience, it sometimes becomes trickier because companies prefer the lower salaries (easier on their budgets) of educated, but inexperienced employees. Understanding that, as you start on your career path, helps you in the long run. (more…)

Posted May 29, 2015 by

Job Search: Tips on What You Should and Should Not Do

When looking for a new job, you want to make the right first impression.  This is because there are likely many other job seekers competing for the opportunities you are interested in, meaning you must stand out.  As a job seeker, take the approach that everything counts.  So, what are some things to keep in mind?  The following post offers job search tips on what you should and should not do. (more…)

Posted May 18, 2015 by

Guidance For Recruiter in Finding Job During Recession

Human resource concept: Job interview

Human resource concept: Job interview. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Finding a job is difficult. And in a recession period; more difficult and frustrated. For one single vacancy in any organization there are 1000 candidates. This makes it more challenging for any student or qualified person to find the job in need. There is a theory to impress a recruiter to get the job and beat those thousands.

The job interview begins from the moment that you are called to attend an appointment and success will depend largely on the degree of preparation you have for it. Thorough interview preparation should be a golden rule for anyone interested in a job candidate. (more…)

Posted September 06, 2013 by

Searching for Your First Entry Level Job? 5 Factors to Consider Besides the Money

As you’re looking for your first entry level job, be careful not to base your decision just on salary.  The following post identifies five other factors to consider in your job search.

If you’ve just graduated college and are unemployed, you’re probably dedicating every waking moment to one task: finding a job. In this economy, it can be difficult to find a job at all, let alone a full-time one in your field. With thousands of dollars in college loans, many new

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Posted August 21, 2013 by

Top 6 Tips to Find Jobs Abroad After College

Swati Srivastava

Swati Srivastava

Are you ready to take the first step to jump start your career with entry level jobs abroad? Choosing to work overseas is always a life changing decision for fresh college students. However, finding a suitable entry level job in the Middle East or any other part of the world is not everyone’s cup of tea. This article offers some useful job hunting tips for all the young job seekers. (more…)

Posted August 06, 2013 by

Mechanical engineering is a sizzling degree for college grads

Mechnical technician operating machine

Mechanical technician operating machine. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

May brings more than Memorial Day and Mother’s Day. It is also when a whole slew of college graduates throw their caps in the air and then cross their fingers in the hopes they can find a job.

While competition for jobs may be stiff — the National Center for Education Statistics (nces.ed.gov, 2012) says more than 1.7 million bachelor’s degrees were conferred in 2010-2011 alone — there is one group of students that could have little problem landing a position right out of school. Those students are engineering majors, and within the field, mechanical engineering grads are some of the most coveted. (more…)

Posted June 05, 2013 by

Personal Concierge – To get you a Job of your Choice

Picture of a concierge

Picture of a concierge. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Many people today are really busy with so many things. They have to deal with work, home, and so on. All their duties must get done and this is where the trouble starts. With so much to do in a limited time, there are people who can’t manage to complete all their duties. But luckily, a solution is now available. (more…)