Ask Vicki: What are the biggest challenges for first-time job seekers?

In this answer on Quora, Monster career expert Vicki Salemi tells you how to tackle the common hurdles that likely await.

Ask Vicki: What are the biggest challenges for first-time job seekers?

Each week, Monster’s career expert Vicki Salemi—a former recruiter who utilizes 15-plus years of experience in recruiting and human resources to empower job seekers—answers user questions on Quora. We’ll be republishing the answers here. If you have a question for Vicki, send it to

Vicki Salemi

Q. What are the biggest challenges for first-time job seekers?

A. Some of the biggest challenges faced when looking for your first job have to do with not being specific enough in your search.

When you’re networking, if you tell people you’re looking for a job in marketing, it doesn’t really help them. But if you specify and say, “I’m looking for a social media job in the Midwest at a nonprofit,” you’ll increase your chances of connecting.

Granted, getting too specific will do more harm than good. For instance, telling someone you’re looking for a social media job in Cleveland at a nonprofit that focuses on public education for middle schoolers will likely limit your results in a big way.

But overall, if you can home in on what you’re looking for and have a tailored resume for each job you apply to, you’ll boost your chances of finding what you’re looking for and getting your resume noticed.

Another challenge for the first-time job seeker is patience. You may apply for several jobs in June and still won’t hear anything by July 4th weekend. Don’t feel deflated. It’s cliché, but it’s true: The job search is definitely a marathon, not a sprint. Many job seekers may (unwisely) take the month of August off, which should make you double down, stick it out, and continue to look for jobs on Monster.

Geography is also a hurdle to overcome. When I recruited for New York City; Short Hills, New Jersey; and Stamford, Connecticut, take a guess which office got the majority of applications. No surprise: New York City.

As for New Jersey and Connecticut? Not so much. Jobs in big metropolitan areas get slammed with applications—especially after college graduation—which makes competition fierce.

On the other hand, if you pursue opportunities in nearby metro areas, based on what I’ve seen, there will be a significant reduction of resumes submitted online, giving you more chances to shine.

Read Vicki Salemi's answer to "What are the biggest challenges for first-time job seekers?" on Quora.