When you're looking for a new job, it seems like everyone—friends, neighbors, grandparents, your mail deliverer—have advice to offer. And while many people have perfectly good tips about how to land your dream job, some of the well-intentioned advice you'll likely receive could actually hurt your chances of getting hired. Here are some of the words of job hunting wisdom that you shouldn't necessarily believe or follow.
1. Your resume must be one page. Resumes are probably the one thing that you'll receive the most conflicting advice on. Some people say that you should fit your resume on one single side of a page while other people say that you should include absolutely everything that is remotely relevant to the position you're applying to, even if your resume spreads across several pages. So which is it?
Aim for somewhere in between those two conflicting tips. You don't necessarily have to keep your resume to a single side of a page, especially if you've been in the workforce for 20 years and have multiple positions to list. You should be able to edit your resume down to the front and back side of a page, however. Seeing stapled pages on your resume is likely to turn a hiring manager against you.
2. Post your resume on a bunch of on-line job boards. Some people believe that with the advent of the Internet, job searching is now as easy as posting your resume on a bunch of job boards and sitting back while you wait for the offers to roll in.
The truth is, posting your resume will largely just result in you getting a lot of spam from job search sites instead of serious job offers. You need to be actively applying for jobs-using both those job sites and by networking with people who could help you get a position (creating a LinkedIn profile, if you haven't already, is a great way to build up a professional network).
3. LinkedIn is just Facebook for the over-40 crowd; it's not worth using. I once heard this exact quote from a presenter at a professional development workshop, but I'd like to respectfully disagree.
As is the case with job boards, you shouldn't just create a LinkedIn profile and then sit back, confident that you'll start getting job offers. You need to use LinkedIn to contact and connect with the people who could potentially help you find a job. If you have a good conversation with a professional at a networking event, or if a friend introduces you to someone who works in your field, add them on LinkedIn so that you can easily get in touch later. And while a LinkedIn profile might not be a direct route to a job, it goes a long way in giving you a professional online presence when potential employers Google your name.
4. You need to network so that you can connect with people who can help you out in your job search. Well, yes, but that's not the whole story. You shouldn't go about networking with the attitude that it's all about what other people can do for you. You need to keep in mind that you can be a professional connection for other people, too, and that you should be willing to help out the people in your network whenever you can.
Keep this two-way street concept in mind when you're actually interviewing for jobs, as well. Don't just talk about how working for a company would be a great way for you to professionally develop, talk about what you can do to benefit the company!
5. Apply for anything and everything. In today's competitive job market, you probably will have to apply to quite a few positions to give yourself the best chance of getting a job you're happy with. However, that doesn't mean that you should just send your resume out en masse to every online position that's remotely related to your degree or skill set.
Instead of applying to a million positions, it's better to focus your energy on crafting good applications for the positions you're truly qualified for and interested in. It's fine to use a resume builder to create a template so that you don't have to start over with every new job, but you should still make sure that you're tailoring your resume to each individual position. And if you get invited to interview, make sure that you've done some good research on the company and have some intelligent questions to ask.
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