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Ask Vicki: What are some realistic and unrealistic expectations of first-time job seekers?

In this answer on Quora, Monster career expert Vicki Salemi tells you what to plan for during a job search.

Ask Vicki: What are some realistic and unrealistic expectations of 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 socialmedia@monster.com.

Vicki Salemi

Q. What are some realistic and unrealistic expectations of first-time job seekers?

A. First and foremost, for first-time job seekers, it’s realistic to expect a comprehensive job description. If you’re pursuing a job that sounds vague, chances are the employer doesn’t know what they are looking for, or they know and they’re not very good at expressing it—or both! Ask for more details regarding the job and politely push prospective employers to send an updated one to you prior to interviewing.

Another realistic expectation is that employers will want you to talk about your resume. You may think to yourself, “Don’t they already have this information right in front of them?” Yes, but your resume only serves as a vehicle to open a door and land you the interview. Your communication skills and how you speak about your experience, skills, and interests—as well as your enthusiasm—will keep that door open.

It’s also realistic to feel frustrated and impatient. That’s normal, especially in our day and age of instant messaging and on-demand technology. The job search process is a marathon, not a sprint. Hang in there! It’s unrealistic to think you’ll apply for one job, get an interview, and receive an offer within a week. The hiring process takes time, and that’s why it’s important to simultaneously pursue several jobs. 

Another unrealistic expectation is to think you’ll be able to negotiate a huge salary increase for your job offer. When I worked in recruiting, it was always awesome to see first-time job seekers negotiate their very first job offer! That said, if a salary increase was approved, it wasn’t for a large amount of money. Should you negotiate every job offer? Definitely. Will you land a $10,000 bump for your first job? Probably not. 

Finally, if you’re networking, it’s unrealistic to think you’ll get anywhere by simply saying you are looking for an entry-level job. You need to be specific. Say something like, “I’m looking for an entry-level job in marketing or PR in the NYC area.” You’ll get more traction by being more specific. 

Read Vicki Salemi's answer to "What are some realistic and unrealistic expectations of first-time job seekers?" on Quora.


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