Are 20-something job seekers actually making mistakes?

In a recent article from Forbes called “The Biggest Mistakes 20-Something Job Seekers Make”, Susan Adams highlights some very valid points from Danu Ticktin Kopik. However as a 20-something year old I feel compelled to argue some of them in our 20-something favour! The mistakes (according to Adams and Kopik) included:

Acting Entitled – In the article we learn that an intern had informed their supervisor that they needed to leave early as they had a horseback riding lesson. This of course, is not acceptable on the first day but nowadays, many companies offer flexi time and tend to encourage after work activities as this helps with the work life balance that attracts Generation Y/Millennials in the first place.

Starting the process too late – On this we are told that waiting until after graduation for work experience is too late. In today’s competitive market I agree. However education is the key. Too many times have I interviewed candidates that ended up dropping out of their studies to work as they struggled to juggle both commitments.

Under-utilising the alumni network – This makes sense, utilising your alumni network is the key, however casting the net further is also important because everyone in your network will also be utilising or should also be utilising this route.

Doing poor research – She makes the point that just checking a company’s website is not enough and she is right, social media, publications and news articles are great sources of interesting information but try not to overdo it. Often candidates can fall into the trap of almost ‘overpreparing’ and mentioning facts about the company the interviewers themselves didn’t even know, which can lead to embarrassment.

Not showing enough appreciation for the interviewer – As a recruiter I have come across this personally, however I would not expect candidates to send a Thank You note. It can be a nice touch and although it is common in the US and other places, this is not the norm everywhere, a strong interview should be enough to leave a lasting impression.

Failing to show generational deference – She gives an example of an intern that went up to the Chief Diversity Officer and requested feedback on their internship.  “Young people are so used to being included in conversations, they fail to grasp their position in the pecking order” – I totally disagree with this. What is wrong with showing some courage? Being proactive? Many employers appreciate this and would see it as a genuine sign of enthusiasm. 

Written by Chelsea Flynn.

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