A few years ago, I walked out of a supermarket and, out of curiosity, grabbed the local newspaper to look at its job listings. I was a few weeks away from graduating college, and my start-up had not generated cash. I needed a job to make ends meet.
One job captured my attention: a sales position for a Hispanic newspaper, which happened to be the newspaper I was reading! Fate, right? I quickly realized that wasn’t the case—and that I’d gone about searching for a job the entirely wrong way.
If you’re graduating this month (or simply looking for a new job), avoid making the same mistakes that I did.
Waiting Until The Last Minute
As I finished my master’s in entrepreneurship, I was so caught up in making my start-up generate revenue that I lost sight of the real world. I did not look at job postings, call up old friends for references, or even bother to freshen up my résumé.
Because I waited until the last minute, job opportunities were not abundant. I had to take what was available, which was a salesman position for a newspaper. If you haven’t started your job search yet, what are you waiting for? The sooner you get going, the better off you’ll be.
Accepting Before Asking
After a successful job interview and presentation of my sales skills, the newspaper offered me the job. I would start the Monday after my graduation. I was so excited simply to have a job that I forgot to ask about a couple important things: benefits and pay.
After accepting the job, I found out I wouldn’t get any benefits except for biweekly pay of $500 plus 10% commission on sales. The first month, I made no commission. In the second month, I closed almost $10,000 in sales—which equaled just an extra $100 in pay. By the third month, I found a new job with better pay and benefits.
Forgetting About Fit
The newspaper company was small and had great people, but I did not fit in with them. I was a fresh, new professional—an outsider with college degrees. I couldn’t relate to these much older individuals at different points in their lives.
The company also did not fit my goals professionally. I wanted to work in a place with room for growth and benefits. If I had done my research, I might have realized the newspaper offered neither. It’s not like the company and the individuals there were bad, but growth and fun were on my agenda and not on theirs.
Before seeking a job, do your homework and assure a place fits you. Desperate times make for desperate measures, and sometimes we give into those. But if a job doesn’t feel right, do not take it because you may waste their time and yours.
Have you made mistakes when searching for a job? What lessons did you learn from them? Sign up or log in with your Salt account to post them in the comments.