After applying to over 7 jobs now (a personal success after I promised myself I would take my thanksgiving break to apply hard!) I think there are a lot of things that students really do not know or understand when applying, that I have already encountered after countless applications on job sites.
First I would say the biggest misconception or rather, confusion is pay. Students in their senior see free anything as the biggest gold mine in their life, and have been used to working for free for a while, so working for pay comes as a grand surprise once entering the work force full time. When clicking or agreeing to a pay rate with a company, students find themselves at odds most the time…what is a good pay grade? Am I selling myself short? What should an entry-level person such as myself be earning? These questions can seem really daunting especially since it is our first real job and money is certainly tight. Any money at all is a dramatic shift and changes the pizza delivery/Chinese take out lifestyle we live by.
I’ve found by asking professors in my major, the AU career center, as well as some friends and older alumni that are lucky enough to be working right now for some helpful advice with this important one. It’s good to get this out of the way, because applications will and are ready to ask how much you are worth to them! (A little scary right?)
Second is the scary idea of location, location, location. Applications throw out that question, “Would you be willing to move or change locations for this job?” UMMM beg your pardon? Since when did this become a committed relationship? I thought we were testing the waters with this? Seriously considering how far you will go for a job is something that again can and will come up, if not in your application, then in your interview or with significant others and family! Solution: be very open to the idea of a wide variety of locales for your dream job, because your career may not just be where you went to college, it could be thousands of miles across the country in the opposite direction.
Finally, pay attention to details when searching and scouring those job postings sites. Administrative assistant is probably the most vague title for a secretary known to man. Do not just apply blindly; go in with an open mind, but not with a rampant computer mouse. You might regret that decision a little later! Try to research the company you are applying for and learn a little more before the make that big investment and always email for ask for information to follow up on if there is a position you are truly passionate about. This could not only put you ahead of the pack, but will show you are a great candidate and eager for the job.