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Mistakes College Students and Graduates Should Avoid

Cecile Peterkin -- Don't wait until you graduate to realize you could have avoided making these financial and job search strategy mistakes.

Now that you have earned a college or university degree, you feel so pumped up about getting your first job. You are excited and confident that your diploma will lead you to a good career. But then you realize that nobody is hiring, and that your talent is no longer in demand. It’s only now that you realize that a four-year degree doesn’t guarantee that you will have a great job and a fruitful career. So what are you supposed to do to give yourself a chance to succeed in your career?

For those beginning their journey towards achieving their career goals, be sure to avoid the following mistakes commonly made by college students and graduates:

#1: Financing your lifestyle using student loans.

Taking on debt is already very risky, and using it to finance your lifestyle in college is one of the biggest mistakes you will ever make. It is not uncommon for many students to take out student loans just to fund their spring break trips. Although you will have fun on such events, they are temporary, and the long term effects of your loan will be there to haunt you.

Remember that loan payments can take decades. Thus, your decisions in college can have a huge impact on your ability to take out other more important loans in the future, such as housing loans or car loans.

#2: Not considering what skills are required for your career.

A college degree is just a representation of your college education. What you need to show employers and hiring managers are your skills that make you the right fit for the jobs they are offering.

Many college students just focus on acquiring skills that will allow them to graduate from college. But those who easily find success right out of college are those who invest time and make an effort to gain additional learning and skills during breaks or summers.

#3: Accepting the first job offer.

Considering the tight competition for employment these days, it seems just natural for fresh graduates to grab any opportunity for employment that comes their way. For them, this is the more practical choice. However, if you are confident that you have some solid education, sufficient skills, and a good resume, then you might as well wait for the perfect job or position.

It is always important to get on the right track early in your career. Almost always, your first job will dictate what career path you will take. Thus, you should think a hundred times before you accept a job offer, so that you can be sure that it is what you need to eventually reach your career goals.

#4: Not seeking advice from more knowledgeable people.

Just because you graduated from college doesn’t mean you know everything in life already. When it comes to finding employment, you need guidance from those who know, including counselors and networking contacts. Seriously consider undergoing a career coaching program where you will have an opportunity to talk to an experienced career coach, who will help you make the best decisions for your career.

Cecile Peterkin is a certified career and retirement coach, and a registered member of the Career Professionals of Canada and the International Coach Federation. She is also the Founder and Senior Career Strategist at Cosmic Coaching Center, provider of career and life management services for middle managers and mid-career professionals across Canada, United States and Europe.

© 2015 Cecile Peterkin

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