False Assumptions and Hard Truths About Finding a Job
Searching for a job is exhausting and stressful. It takes a lot of effort to obtain a position that is right for you. Not only are you looking for the proper role, but you also need to be aware of the company's culture, salary and benefits.
You will receive a lot of advice from people about job hunting. Some of it might be valuable. Just ensure your resume is perfect and don't believe these myths.
Myth: Include as Much Information as Possible on Your Resume
One common mistake is mentioning every detail about your previous jobs. Some people insist on letting employers know everything they’ve done throughout their careers no matter how tangentially related it is to the position at hand, from changing coffee filters to entering data.
Truth: Emphasize the Most Important Experience on the First Page
In reality, a resume should only include the highlights. Many employers receive hundreds of resumes per day, so they don't have the time to review each resume from start-to-finish. Some recruiters may even take the first page of a resume and toss out the rest, making all of that hard work pointless.
Myth: No One Reads Cover Letters
In today's competitive job-seeking world, who has time to read an entire cover letter? It's foolish to think that someone is going to sit down and read a complete cover letter from every candidate, right?
Truth: Your Cover Letter Is the Attention Grabber
Including a cover letter is a vital step to ensuring your resume makes it to the interview stage. It is your chance to capture the hiring manager's attention and create a narrative about your employment history, potentially even before they see your resume.
Myth: Use the Same Cover Letter for Multiple Job Applications
A cover letter should be short and to the point, and it should consist of highlights that make you the perfect person for the job. Since it contains your career highlights, it shouldn't change, right?
Truth: Use Your Cover Letter to Show You Understand the Job
Recruiters and hiring managers can see right through a generic cover letter and recognize that it was copied and pasted from a previous application. By reviewing the job description in detail and using it as a starting point for a targeted cover letter, you demonstrate that you’re invested in that particular position, not just any job at all.
Myth: Use the Same Resume for Each Application
Now that you’ve written your resume, it's time to start submitting it to every job you can find. It can certainly save time to send out the same resume to every employer you apply to, but is that the best strategy for landing a job?
Truth: Take Advantage of Keywords in Your Cover Letter
Submitting the same resume for every role can work against you in more ways than you think. Many large companies use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to search through hundreds, even thousands of resumes. The algorithm is keyword-based, so if your resume doesn’t include the right words and phrases for a specific job, you might miss out.
Myth: List Every Job You've Ever Held
It can be tempting to list every job application you’ve ever had. You want to show an employer the full range of skills and abilities you have to offer, and you definitely don’t want holes in your resume.
Truth: Focus on Recent and Relevant Experience
The content of your resume should follow a few simple rules. First, include your most recent five to 10 years of work experience. Use discretion when adding older roles; they should only be related to the industry for which you are applying. Second, separate each job by company, not by job title. Use your promotions as bullet-pointed achievements.
Myth: Daily Tasks Are Essential in Your Career History
A significant portion of resumes focuses on day-to-day responsibilities. And why wouldn't they? Those daily tasks are what made up a considerable amount of your time. It gives the recruiter or hiring manager a chance to see that you can fulfill the job duties required in the role.
Truth: Emphasize Actions and Accomplishments
Action words are crucial to summarizing a previous job on your resume. If used correctly, they paint a clear picture of what you accomplished and how you grew. ATS software can distinguish between overused action words and ones that a particular position calls for, so be specific, and be sure to list quantifiable achievements that demonstrate what you can do for an employer.
Myth: Sign Up for All Job Search Sites
Searching for a job is a numbers game. The more job sites you sign up for, such as Monster and Indeed, the better your chances of landing an interview. Theoretically, that makes a bit of sense. However, it's a little more complicated than that.
Truth: Apply Directly at the Source
To master your digital job search, only sign up for quality websites, such as Ladders.com. All of the jobs listed pay upwards of $100,000. You can use Monster or Indeed, but be ready to filter through a lot of nonsense work.
Myth: All Open Jobs Are Listed
Now that you have found a company's employment opportunities, you apply for as many as you can, even if you believe you are under-qualified. What have you got to lose? But you're not done with this company quite yet. A major myth about job hunting is believing every available job is listed. Misunderstand details like these to your detriment.
Truth: Always Introduce Yourself for Unlisted Opportunities
Do your due diligence and seek out additional opportunities. Find a department where you will be a valuable addition. Send a cover letter as your email and attach a draft of your resume with significant accomplishments. They might be looking for someone but haven't listed the posting yet, or they may even be interested in adding a new role.
Myth: Apply for Jobs and Wait for a Response
Now that you’ve applied to some dream positions, it can be tempting to just sit back and be grateful that you didn’t have to walk around town dropping off printed resumes like your parents. All you had to do was prepare digital applications.
Truth: The Art of the Follow-up Email
So how do you follow up with an employer without bothering them? First, don’t worry so much — follow-up emails are a common practice. Second, keep it brief and professional. Mention your application date and a little something about yourself, state and again why you would be a good fit. If you were interviewed, thank the person for their time.
Myth: Schedule an Interview ASAP!
Your efforts have paid off, and you’ve been called to schedule an interview. Your first instinct might be to schedule the meeting for the next available date. You've been out of work for a while, and the sooner you show up, the sooner you can get paid. However, that’s not always the best practice.
Truth: Schedule in the Morning on a Tuesday
So when is the perfect time to schedule an interview? Going too late in the interview process can make you the victim of decision fatigue, as employers have simply looked at too many people to care anymore. Ideally, you want to be interviewed in the first half of the middle of an employer’s interview bloc for the best results.
Myth: Asking for a Lower Salary Increases Chances of a Job Offer
Salary negotiations are a crucial element of getting a job. Many companies list pay amounts or base salary figures on the job posting. A lot of times, there will be a salary range based on experience. Don't make the mistake of requesting the lowest wage while thinking it puts you ahead.
Truth: Be Willing to Negotiate
Few employers ever withdrew a name from consideration for a job because the applicant asked for the maximum salary. You know your own value, so ask for a salary that reflects that. If a company disagrees, you can trust them to present you with a lower counter-offer.
Myth: You’ll Only Have One Career in Life
Industries evolve, and some die out. It's naive to think in this day and age that you’ll be working in the same job your entire life. No matter how much experience you have, you may be subject to termination. The secret to success is to always be willing to learn new skills and expand into new areas of expertise
Truth: Age Doesn't Matter, Leadership Does
While ageism is real, you’re not necessarily out of luck just because you’re an older person. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act offers some protection against discrimination based on age, and ultimately, many companies just want to hire the most qualified candidates to improve their revenue. Profits are, in fact, their bottom line.
Myth: Accept the First Job Offer
Say you’ve just started applying for jobs when all of a sudden, the phone rings. It's not from the company you were hoping to hear from, but it's work. Should you take it?
Truth: Don’t Hold Out for a Job a Dream Job
It can be tempting to hold out for a dream job, but that’s not always realistic. If you need money, a bad job now might be necessary to survive until you get a better one. If necessary, take advantage of the gig economy to pay the bills. Drive for Lyft or Uber or sign up on Wonolo for one-time jobs.
Myth: Always Trust Your Headhunter
Temp agencies and other kinds of so-called headhunters can be great in that they already know of companies that may be looking to hire someone. They probably have access to contacts in companies you could only dream of. However, that doesn’t mean they have your best interests at heart.
Truth: Recruiters and Headhunters Have Different Goals
While headhunters usually act as third-party agents, recruiters are often part of the company whose positions they’re trying to fill, meaning that their primary interest is in finding employees that will excel at their tasks. While recruiters are also interested more in helping employers than employees, they get paid for bringing on quality staff, not just filling seats.
Myth: It's a Bad Idea to Switch Careers
Let's say you’ve been working as a computer programmer since the days of MS-DOS. You make decent money, but staring at the computer screen for 12 hours a day is giving you headaches. Maybe you long for a change of scenery and something new.
Truth: Old Jobs Can Lead to New Ones
Entering the job market is a gamble. However, if you take the time to research other fields prepare yourself financially and acquire new knowledge if needed, it can make sense to switch fields. What matters is understanding your chances of success and the skills you’ll need to excel as well as having a plan in place so you don’t bankrupt yourself.