Believing every job hunt myth can derail your job search. Here is some advice on how to deal with job hunt myths and get back on track.
Job Hunt Myth: There aren’t any right jobs in the right place for me right now.
Advice: This could probably be accurately reworded to: Online I haven’t seen any jobs posted that match what I want in the town I want it in. Two responses: maybe you need to expand your search geography and/or do a better job of targeting employers you want to work for even if they aren’t currently advertising. Catch the job you want before they even post it.
Job Hunt Myth: The majority of open positions are posted online.
Advice: In general this is probably true, but the vagaries of the job boards like 30 day postings and keyword search criteria, mean you may not see the job you want or that is still available because you missed the posting. Target companies and pursue them actively.
Job Hunt Myth: Registering on job boards and job portals results in call backs.
Advice: Occasionally, very occasionally, this does work. The rarity of success here means you must do more than just put your name and resume out there. Find someone at the company that works in the department you are applying to. Even if you don’t know them, call them. Find a recruiter advertising the same job. They can open doors you can’t.
Job Hunt Myth: Networking doesn’t work.
Advice: This needs to be revised to networking does work over time. Nurturing contacts while you are still working at a job you like in anticipation of a job change in a few years is critical to your long term career success. Join professional societies and LinkedIn Groups. Ask questions of mentors and leaders in your field. Attend conferences and visit the booths of companies you are interested in. Talk to speakers and attendees who are in sessions right up your career alley.
Job Hunt Myth: Cover letters aren’t important.
Advice: The days of one cover letter and one resume are long gone. Actually, the days of cover letters are gone. One or two paragraph cover emails are the norm. A targeted resume for EVERY position you apply to is ideal. No, you don’t make-up your skill set to match each job. Truthfulness is essential, but tailoring the projects you put on your resume to the position you are applying for, or highlighting the skills you DO have to match the position description does make a difference in getting your resume noticed.
Job Hunt Myth: Temporary jobs aren’t worth the effort.
Advice: If you are unemployed or even underemployed, the right project done on a temporary basis or after hours, even for no pay, can give you the credibility and experience you need to garner a hiring manager’s attention. Clients like to see current, real world experience as much as possible.
Job Hunt Myth: It might not be the perfect job, but it pays better, so take it!
Advice: Don’t take a job based on salary increase only. If the position doesn’t gain you something in your skill set development, more money now won’t mean more money long term. Take the job that gives you valuable experience and allows you to grow in your career. The money will follow.
Job Hunt Myth: Your resume needs to be one page.
Advice: This myth isn’t too far off. Two page resumes are ideal, but if you need more space for publications or specific skills information, feel free to make it longer. Don’t put everything you’ve ever done in excruciating detail though. Remember the 8 second rule. You need to capture their attention in an 8 second review of your resume. Once you have that attention you will get another minute maybe two for them to decide whether to set up a phone call. If they have to dig longer than two minutes to figure out what your about, your resume has failed.
Job Hunt Myth: Asking for less salary will make you a more attractive candidate.
Advice: In the growing state’s movement to stop any current salary inquiries, your current salary may not even be discussed. Even without these new laws though companies want to hire someone who will be happy with the salary range they have defined for their opening. They assume if you take a pay cut, you will be unhappy. They are probably right.
Job Hunt Myth: Using a recruiter makes you less attractive to companies.
Advice: If the recruiter has a relationship with the company that allows them to send your resume, the company has all the approvals necessary to use a recruiter. Companies are happy to get vetted and prepared candidates no matter where they come from. If a recruiter can open a door for you, use them!