NEW YORK (MainStreet) — College students preparing to graduate this year might want to rethink their dreams—at least with regards to the first job they expect to get right out of school.

According to a recent survey conducted by the recruitment agency, The Creative Group, 36% of executives said that entry-level candidates have unrealistic career expectations. Similarly, only 10% of respondents felt that these candidates fully understood the jobs for which they applied. 

The majority of applicants, the survey respondents believed, had somewhat realistic expectations of what their career trajectory would be, from expecting a higher salary to believing the job’s duties would encompass more than they actually do.

The study’s results are based on telephone interviews with approximately 375 marketing executives randomly selected from companies with 100 or more employees, and 125 advertising executives randomly selected from agencies with 20 or more employees.

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The Creative Group found these unrealistic expectations could easily be tempered with research, however.

"Researching average salaries and skills in demand can help new grads avoid over- or underselling themselves during the application process," Donna Farrugia, executive director of The Creative Group said in a press release. And "job candidates also should learn as much as possible about the companies they are interviewing with so they can ask informed questions when meeting with hiring managers and get a realistic sense of what the position entails," Farrugia added.

That’s because of all the steps in the hiring process, the survey found that 35% of executives considered interviews to be the most important way to determine whether or not an applicant should be hired, followed by resumes (27%), portfolio (15%), references (11%) and social media presence (3%). Interestingly, experience only received 1% of the participants’ responses.

For tips on how to ace an interview, check out our article and for advice on what to include and leave out in your cover letter, read our breakdown of cover letter facts and myths.

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