You have spent the last 16 or so years of your life being educated – and yet you now find yourself without a job. You have been searching until your ears turn blue, but you can’t seem to land that coveted position.

You are not alone. Statistics show that 45 percent of graduates are still looking for work in their fields of study within 6-8 months after graduation.

Searching for a job is a job in itself, and if you are not prepared for the long haul, you will not succeed.

The first thing that all graduates should be prepared with is a dynamite resume that will get past the applicant tracking systems (ATSs) in place at big companies today. These ATSs are set up to help with the overload of applications that come in through the Internet. Much of the hiring process is automatic now, and if your resume does not pass through the ATS, it will never reach the hiring manager who can give you that job you’re looking for.

But even if you have a killer resume, you may be sabotaging yourself in other ways. Here are eight reasons why you, new grad, might be losing out on jobs:


1. You’re Not Researching the Company

Before being considered for a job in any company, you must prepare yourself according to what the company needs. Applicants who show up blind to the needs of companies will never get called back.

What do you know about the company you are applying for? What is its annual revenue? What does it sell? Where are its offices located? What companies is the employer in competition with? Many interviewers will ask you questions about why you want to work for them, and knowing the answers to these aforementioned questions could help you demonstrate your passion and qualifications.

2. You’re Not Asking Any Questions

At the end of every interview, the interviewer will ask if you have any questions. The worst thing you can say is “No.” When you have questions to ask, you show that you are genuinely interested in the position.

This is also an opportunity for you to find out about what the company needs from you. Then, you can demonstrate to the interviewer how you can meet those needs.

3. Your Attire Needs Updating

clothespinsAlthough few businesses today require you to suit up, dressing like a slob for the interview is a no-no. You should also shy away from attire that could be considered scandalous.

4. Your Resume Needs an Update

Your resume is an important part of your job-hunting process. Make sure you update it at least every three months. Many applicants fail to include their volunteer service, tutoring jobs, or similar roles. These commitments cast a positive light on yourself, so be sure to include them. Employers like to see that you are keeping busy even though you may not have a paying position.

Consider your resume as an investment in your future. If you need to, consult a professional on how to develop your resume. We spend money on needless things all the time, so spending a few extra dollars to give your resume a facelift should really be no problem.


5. Your Body Language is Off-Putting 

There are so many things we do without thinking. We fidget when we are nervous; we bite our nails; we play with our hair; we tap our feet. These practices can be distracting to an interviewer, taking attention away from you and your qualifications.

Pay close attention to your body language during an interview. Sit up straight and make eye contact.

6. You Don’t Smile

When you walk into the office of someone whom you want to look favorably at you, you should smile. It makes a big difference. Don’t bring a scowl to your interview. No matter how your day is going, smile and extend your hand for a shake.

7. Your Hygiene Needs Work

Make sure you’ve showered and shaved before your interview. Keep in mind that some people are allergic to colognes and perfumes, so use them sparingly or not at all. A mild soap and some deodorant is really all you need to be presentable. You do not want to leave an overwhelming smell for the HR department to remember you by.

8. You Don’t Get Enough Sleep

You don’t want to be yawning at an interview. Make sure you get plenty of sleep the night before so that you are alert and ready to tackle all of the questions thrown at you.

roadStill Having Trouble?

If you find that you still can’t land a job after adopting this advice, there are a few more steps you may want to take:

- Practice mock interviews with someone who knows HR practices well and ask them to give you a few pointers.

- It’s also a good idea to practice in front of a mirror or videotape yourself and play it back. That way, you can watch your body language and identify areas in need of improvement.

- Record yourself speaking and listen intently to your speech patterns. Are you using slang unknowingly? Are you slurring your words?

After all is said and done, keep in mind that sometimes you just may not be a good fit or qualified for the job.

If you are unsure about your fit, it is okay to ask. During the interview, ask if there is anything that you can do to secure the position or any areas about which the interviewer is concerned.

No matter what happens, never give up. The jobs are out there, and if you show enthusiasm and continue to submit your resume, you’ll get one soon. Good Luck!

Veronica Wright is cofounder and career coach at She can be contacted on Facebook and Twitter.

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