It is a spooky dark, cold, rainy night and the only noise you can hear is the rustling of the fallen leaves and the quiet voice in your head saying “youuuu have to stay in the job field that falls within yourrrrr degree, there is NoOo way around it.”  

While not the scariest Halloween story, this is just one of the frightening job myths that might haunt your career if you aren’t careful. 


Myth 1: your college major determines your career path.

Some of you may already know what you are going to do with your career, and you are entering a specialized field. Others may be getting your degree and end up not loving that career path when you are in the workforce. The good news is that what you study in college doesn’t determine what you have to do for the rest of your life! While it is great to take classes related to what you will be doing for work, it doesn’t always work out as planned. Engineering majors sometimes graduate and begin working and realize that is not what they want to do with their life, that is okay! Not every finance student graduates and loves the world of stocks and bonds, not every marketing major graduates and finds their passion in advertising and social media marketing. That is okay too! 

It is not a bad thing to pursue a career not related to your degree, it is called a career journey for a reason. There are tons of paths  and skills you’ll gain on the journey, and you may end up surprising yourself and love one not directly related to what your degree is in. Your diploma says what you have a degree in, but does not define one career path for the rest of your life. 


Myth 2: you don’t need a cover letter.

TRUE statement, sometimes! Key word sometimes.

 A lot of applications don’t require one and you might even think that it’s old fashioned to have a cover letter, but you should NEVER underestimate the power of a well-written, tailored note to your employer, especially if the job is heavy on communication or writing skills. Having a cover letter might also be the thing that sets you apart from the rest of the candidates! Whether you have a compelling reason for applying to the job or you have some talents to expand upon from your resume, a concise but specific to the job and employer cover letter is the perfect medium for grabbing their attention. If a job posting has a place to submit one with your resume even if it doesn’t ask for it, do it anyway. That might have their attention and make them think you're the best candidate!  Just don’t scare the employer away with a generic cover letter!

Myth 3: you should follow up with a recruiter as many times as it takes to get the job.

Constantly “hitting them up” might be a valid strategy for your dating life, but it isn’t always the best strategy for landing the job you want. When applying for a job you are really excited about and want here are a few rules you should try and follow: 

  • Let’s say you know somebody at the company who gives you contact information for the recruiter, team leader, or hiring manager who is looking to hire for the specific role you are interested in. It doesn’t hurt to send them a quick email or LinkedIn message to  give them your name, let them know you are applying for that position, why you are interested and thanking them for their time in advance. HOWEVER, this does not mean  you should spam everyone you know at the company and the person hiring with constant messages if they aren’t getting back to you. Doing so will most likely make them frustrated with you. So, limit your outreach to one person who is actually connected to the job listing and then let it be. 
  • It is totally acceptable to send a thank you message after your interview, phone call, or meeting. Often sending a message or email to thank them for their time and referring back to something you discussed during the conversation can make you stand out. With that being said it will be very tempting to message them again trying to follow up about the status of your application, but limit your outreach. They might be really considering you for the position and then your persistency might drive them away from choosing you. There is a fine line between seeming interested and overdoing it. During the interview try and discuss a time frame of when they might get back to you, or what their next steps are. That way you have some form of reference for it, and if that time passes you can shoot them a quick email to check in! However, leave it at that one email.


Myth 4: you shouldn't negotiate your first full-time job offer.

A lot of the times employers leave a fair bit of slack in the salary range to accommodate a candidate’s asks because negotiation is so common during the offer stage. You can really set the tone for your career by doing due diligence in navigating your first job offer. Negotiating pay and benefits at the start of your first full-time job can really ensure that both of those things will be maximized throughout your whole professional career. 


Negotiating can still be SCARY even for experienced employees. Here are a few tips for negotiating your job offer:

  • Do your homework! If you are prepared and have a sense of what you want and what the average is you are more likely to get the results you are looking for. Use tools like college career center’s resources, or the Bureau of Labor Statistics to help establish a range for your job title, experience level, and geographic area. Be prepared enough to say “based on my research I know the average starting salary is $X and based on my experience I believe I am an above average candidate and I was hoping for a salary more like $Z”. Knowing what you want going in and what is reasonable, allows negotiation to be more successful.
  • Always ask for more than what you really want-within reason. Almost never will an employer immediately accept your counter offer, This is negotiating for a reason. Starting with higher than what you actually need allows you to get closer to the salary you want. It allows you to negotiate your salary to a happy medium between their first offer and your higher counter offer.
  • PRACTICE, even if it feels ridiculous. Negotiating is almost the same as interviewing and we hope you practice for your interview. Practicing can help you gain confidence and make sure you are fully prepared to walk in there and come out with results. Don’t underestimate the power of rehearsing. 
  • If they say “no” don’t take it as a failure. You might be joining a company who already offered you their max budget for that position and they really can’t offer more at that time. There are many reasons why an employer might not be able to accommodate your salary asks. So if they say no, it doesn’t mean you failed. You have demonstrated your confidence and assertiveness and advocated yourself to the best of your ability.
  • Know what you NEED. Going into the negotiation process know ahead of time what the minimum salary you are willing to take is. This might mean adding up your bills and knowing how much you need to be making to live off of it. There is no need to tell an employer that information, but having that number in your back pocket and politely sticking to that being the minimum is important. At the end of the negotiation if the employer can not offer you what you need then maybe that just is not the best fit for you. 


Let us know if there’s any other scary job myths that we can put to rest!