Land your First Job

5 First-Job Blunders College Grads Often Make

We may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

College is a period of fun, adventure, and self-discovery, a time many wish would never end. However, while immensely enjoyable, college ultimately paves the way for your career. It’s important to remember that job environments differ significantly from classroom settings, and this transition can be quite overwhelming.

Adapting to change and learning new skills are essential for recent college graduates, yet certain common mistakes often occur during this transition. Navigating your first job can feel like a juggling act, especially after years of academic life. The shift from college to the workplace can be challenging, and there are specific pitfalls that graduates should strive to avoid.

If you’re eager to discover more about the typical mistakes college grads make in their first jobs, continue reading for insightful guidance!

Just graduated and landed your first job? Congrats! But wait, there are pitfalls to avoid. Discover the 5 common mistakes college grads make in their first job – tips that could save your career #CareerAdvice #GradLife #FirstJobFauxPasClick To Tweet

Mistakes College Grads Make at Their First Job

1. Thinking You Need Your Dream Job

This is the biggest mistake that new grads often make and it is understandable. After all, you went to school to get a job that you would love and if you cannot find anything that seems exciting right out of college, you might think that you have failed. The trouble with looking at any job as your potential dream job right out of college is that you have not worked before or have likely not worked much.

Your interests, goals, and plans will change over time and you will find that trying to pick a job based on how excited you are about it is not always wise. Your dream job will likely come down the road later after you have started working. When you are looking for jobs, find something that pays a fair wage and that offers you room to grow. This is a great place to start and you can move on to new jobs after you have built up some work history.

2. Not Continuing to Get Education

If you have needed to take a job to start working on your resume, that is totally understandable and probably a wise decision. Don’t think that you can’t keep working on your education, however. If you know that you need an MBA or another degree to get into job roles that you really want, you will need to consider taking some online college classes while you start working.

This is a more manageable process than you might think and you will be able to pay your bills while also continuing to get the education that you need to secure better-paying jobs in the future. If you know that you need an advanced degree to get the job that you have always wanted, work on this degree while you are also building a resume.

3. Applying for Jobs You Cannot Get

While you might think that you have the experience to get a management job right out of college, you are likely going to have to start out working at a lower-level position and work your way up to management or jobs with more responsibility. Being unwilling to take a more entry-level position can cheat you out of resume building and job history. Remember that you may be more qualified for a lower-responsibility job at first and that’s okay. 

Taking some jobs that are not your dream job may be necessary to get some work history built up. You will find that applying for more advanced or senior positions is much easier when you have a resume that shows some time working and some skill development in the real world.

4. Trying to Make a Splash

Remember that your first job is not the same as your first year in college. You are not going to want to come into an office environment trying to make friends with everyone or be the life of the party all the time. Work is a very different environment than school, and you need to come into your first job with a willingness to learn while adjusting to office culture.

Being willing to take your time to fit in and grow into your new job role can help make sure that you do not offend the people that you are working with. You should also consider that some of the people that you are working with have been in these jobs for years and they might know more than you think. Try to avoid being close-minded when you come into a new office role and learn from your more experienced team members.

5. Not Using Your 401k

Whether or not you think you will be at a job for a short time, you should never cheat yourself out of investing in the retirement plan that is offered. Every saved penny can count later in your life and if you find that you have stayed for a year or more in a job without investing in their retirement options, you have probably missed out on valuable future retirement money that you could have been saving and maturing.

If you are not sure how to invest in your 401k, just head to your HR department or send them an email. They should be able to advise you about your options for investing and explain how the sign-up process works. Being able to save money in this way is always a good idea, no matter how long you think you will be at a certain job.

Working at Your First Job Can be Rewarding

If you head into your first job with the right frame of mind and the right plan of action, you will find that you will gain excellent skills and benefits from having taken the job. Even if it is not your ultimate dream job, you will gain skills at your first job that will benefit you later in life. 

Take your first job seriously and you will be rewarded with skills and experiences that will carry you forward into a brighter future.

Our Pick
Go Forth and Get a Job!: A Job Search Guide for College Grads

Suly Rieman has helped thousands of new college graduates effectively prepare for their job search. She has an unwavering passion for helping college students be fully prepared with effective job search documents and interviews. 

Buy on
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
05/19/2024 06:35 am GMT

What's next?

home popular resources subscribe search

You cannot copy content of this page