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Starting Out

Ten Job Hunting Myths

Erin Burt

Looking for the perfect job? It probably won't fall in your lap. Search smart by avoiding these common misconceptions.

It's tough enough even finding a job, much less the perfect job. Misconceptions about job hunting, the working world and the entry-level employee's role can easily bog down a young professional's progress.

See Also: Will You Ace Your Next Job Interview?

Improve your chances of finding your dream job. Don't get sucked into these ten common job-hunting myths:

1. Finding a job after college will be quick and easy

No matter the state of the economy, don't expect the job offers to come rolling in. Finding work may be a cinch for a select few, but for the vast majority, it will still take serious effort. The length of your hunt will depend on a variety of factors from where you live and your qualifications, to the amount of time you dedicate to your search and your interviewing and networking skills.

If it takes a while, don't get discouraged. The average job search lasts four months, according to outplacement experts. To make ends meet in the meantime, you may have to take a less glamorous (and lower-paying) gig. A few of my friends have worked in call centers, flipped burgers or cleaned toilets for a couple months after graduation -- just until they landed a job where they could use their degree.


2. The Internet is the best place to look for a job

"One of the most prevalent misconceptions in job hunting is that job hunting on the Web is some magic elixir that will result in employers lining up to interview you," says Randall Hansen, associate professor of marketing at Stetson University and publisher of Quintessential Careers.

While the Internet should probably make up one component of your search, says Hansen, it shouldn't be your only strategy. Only about 15% to 20% of all job openings are ever publicly advertised in any medium, and only about 5% of job seekers end up getting jobs through ads, Hansen says.

How does everyone else do it? Word of mouth.

"Networking is by far the most effective job-search tool you can use," Hansen says. When you're first starting out, you probably don't know many people in your field that can help in your job hunt, so this can present a challenge. But there are plenty of ways beginners can plug into the grapevine. For starters, check out the resources offered by your college alumni association, join a professional organization or club, or subscribe to a trade magazine. Also consider getting an internship, setting up informational interviews with experts in your field, or keeping in touch with college acquaintances in your major, especially those who may have graduated before you.

The Internet may not be a total bust. I found my first job out of college through an online journalism job board. But taking the time to weave a web of professional contacts could create more opportunities for you now and enhance your career options down the road.

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