Job searching isn’t always a cakewalk. It can be a long process and not everyone has the same, specific path to follow to success. Any sort of help along the way is always welcomed and encouraged.
What isn’t helpful are the job myths floating around that some people pass along like solid advice. Things like “don’t wear red to an interview” or “make sure to show up an hour early” are perpetuated like statistically proven facts. They are not. And while those tidbits are advice a bit more farfetched, there are a lot more job search myths floating around that appear like legitimate guidelines. Here is some job search “advice” that you should stay clear of:
1. Stick to what you know
Throughout your job search, if you limit yourself to one specific industry and/or a related job title, you’ll miss plenty of employment opportunities that you could be a perfect fit for. Do active research through your job hunt. Looking to companies that you wouldn’t normally consider an ideal fit for yourself and read into their job descriptions thoroughly. There are plenty of positions out there that would cater to your specific talents. Don’t stick to what you know and what you’re used to. Get creative with your searches.
2. Apply to everything
Broadening your horizons with your job search should be emboldened; applying to everything and anything you come across should not. While some will say, “If you apply to 30 jobs, you’re bound to hit on one”, submitting your resume to an inordinate amount of job opportunities will just water down your job search. Chances are that more than half the positions are less than ideal in some facet or another (i.e., salary, company culture, benefits, etc.). Not to mention the clutter of keeping track of when you applied to where is a whole task in itself. Stay focused, find the best job descriptions that fit you, and apply accordingly.
3. Put everything on your resume
There is no reason to overload your resume with every job opportunity you’ve had since entering the workforce – especially positions you’ve had during your teenage/college years. Employers do like to see employment consistency and longevity, but if you are an experienced professional, chances are your job as a Camp Counselor might not be relevant to the position you’re applying for. Of course, if there’s some sort of correlation with prior experience and job duties to the current one you’re applying for, they should be known. But don’t feel the need to personalize your resume to every specific job you apply to. Save that information and anecdotes for the interview or include them in your cover letter.
4. Cover letters are dead
That’s not always true. You have two obvious ways to sell yourself to a potential employer: your resume and your interview. But an overlooked option is the infamous cover letter. This is where you can bring up those personable, detailed stories about your prior work and/or life experience that will allow you to perform this potential new job to the best of your abilities. The cover letter is that buffer to make sure your resume isn’t a jumbled mess and to avoid that rambling rant of your life’s accomplishments during the interview. It’s that perfect filler to add anything you might’ve missed. As an added bonus, a cover letter can be more personalized to the specific position and company you’re applying for. Of course, you should always follow the application instructions. If the employer tells you not to submit a cover letter, don’t do it. If it’s optional, you should take advantage of this opportunity!
5. Follow up every which way you can
Employers love when someone is interested and committed to a position. An appreciative e-mail thanking your interview is the way to go. On occasion and for safe measures, attaching your resume and cover letter along can’t hurt. But that’s it. Constantly calling to follow up on the job status is a bit excessive. You don’t want to overwhelm and bombard an employer with annoying inquiries every other day. Sending a gift or even stopping by is as taboo as it gets. Keep it professional and if a manager said they’d reach out to you, take them at their word for it.
6. Don’t be yourself
First and foremost, companies look for a hardworking and qualified professional when hiring. But throughout the interview process, a genuine and honest person always stands out. Being the best of yourself is always better than trying to edit your personality to what you think will appease a hiring manager. Acting one way in an interview to gain points only to completely change your demeanor once you’re hired wouldn’t be a good start to your career with the company. Be comfortable, be yourself, and let the rest work itself out.
7. Salary-focused is the only way to search
Just like applying to every job imaginable isn’t a good idea, solely focusing your job search based on salary isn’t the best tactic either. Striving for decent or lucrative compensation is, of course, a priority, but doing the necessary research into other factors is what will keep you happy and employed at that position longer. Things like company culture, room for growth, benefits, etc. are things that don’t jump off the page like a salary does, but they’re what matters in the long term for most happy professionals. You can find a job, get paid tons, and end up being miserable the entire time because everything else doesn’t click correctly. If you do the appropriate research during your job hunt, you’ll come up with plenty of suitable options for yourself – that aren’t solely based on salary.