2014 college graduates face an improving labor market, but it is still difficult to find a full-time job, especially if it is their first time hunting for a job.

Companies are increasingly looking for new employees, but the applicant pool is deep and the competition is stiff, meaning that even a slight mistake can damage a new graduate’s employment prospects.

Some graduates rely too much on campus career services office; where counselors tend to underestimate strength and flexibility of students.  They go for safety over trying something new.

Is it all about the search?

Instead of searching the college database for job openings, graduates need to focus on building connections with real people.  Students need to find professionals in their own industry whose work they find credible and ask for guidance and advice but not a job.

If you build first-person relationships with professionals in your field, you will get an insider view as to what it takes to get your foot in the door.  If you prove yourself time and again by asking advice, there will be more chance that you will get a job.  If you badger a mentor, asking for a job, you will find yourself only getting advice.

Skip the big net, target your job search.

It is understandable that new graduates want to cast a wide net to find a job as soon as possible, but a search that is too big can slow the search.  Graduates often approach the search by sending out multiple resumes in a week in order to land some job.  They are working with the concept that quantity will equate to an interview, but they are wrong.  It is actually more productive to find the right job and execute a plan to win the position.

This means that a teacher should not waste his or her time applying for a logistics dispatch position.  Applying for jobs that do not fit and mid-level jobs as a new graduate is a great way to earn a rotten reputation with recruiters.

New graduates can further improve their chances by tailoring a resume and cover letter to reflect specific industry qualifications that make them more of a prize for an employer.

Is your Facebook account friendly for employers?

Social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter and Pinterest are an integral part of life and they are beginning to seep into the job-search process.  The habit of over-sharing on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Vine is haunting graduates looking for a job.

Many social networks offer privacy settings, but there are ways for potential employers to capture an unflattering glimpse of an applicant.  Hiring managers will look for tweets that raise any red flags, social media attacks, updates that indicate substance abuse or any other image or post that makes a person look irresponsible.

The suit for the interview will help, but photos of you and your friends doing something completely irresponsible and out of character, will lose you the job.  Do not expect the interviewer to ask about the social media accounts either, because they know a warning will cause you to scrub the account.  Stay one step ahead of the “man” and scrub the accounts before you apply.

What does this all mean for my job search?

Students often expect their starting point to be more glamorous.  It is important that new graduates understand that it is actually going to be a process to find a job.  There will be relationship building, a targeted search and a necessity to cover their own butt in personal matters like Facebook.  The key for any graduate is to keep proving their value and always improving their worth to a potential employer.

The team from Staffing Resource Group can help place you in the right job.