Whether you are looking for your first job or transitioning between jobs, the job search process can be daunting. While many people will try to offer you useful advice, sometimes these suggestions can lead you down a path that results in months of frustration with no return.
Below are six tips that might sound good at first, but could ultimately hurt your job search instead.
MYTH: Online applications are the one and only way to get a job nowadays.
TRUTH: There are likely hundreds of jobs in your area listed online. However, you should narrow down the opportunities to the jobs you want and are qualified for. Once you do that, you’ll have a more targeted search and you’ll be more likely to get results. You should also try to connect with employers directly, especially those you already know. Use your network to try and establish authentic connections with potential employers. Real people can help you more than the internet.
MYTH: Fill out as many applications as possible.
TRUTH: This method of employer-hunting is highly encouraged and relatively easy due to the online application process. But if you work hard to develop relationships with prospective employers that are a good fit for you, you have a much better chance of getting an interview and landing a long-term position. Plus, if you fill out too many applications, you run the risk of losing track of your submissions and complicating your job search.
MYTH: Your résumé/cover letter/introduction needs to “stand out.”
TRUTH: While this myth can be true in a general sense, you need to be careful. Employers might view visually complex and flashy résumés and cover letters as unprofessional. When in doubt, keep it simple and clean. Unless you're applying for a creative job, make your résumé stand out by listing your specific skill set and experiences, not by turning your résumé into an art piece.
MYTH: Follow up consistently via phone.
TRUTH: Most people have an urge to follow-up with a prospective employer a little too frequently. At the end of your interview, ask when you should expect to hear back. Then send a thank-you email (and possibly even a thank-you card) and wait. If you haven’t interviewed, call once to schedule an interview. If for some reason the potential employer is uncommunicative, follow up with an email, but do so sparingly.
MYTH: Show how much you love/support the company.
TRUTH: Having enthusiasm for the company is great, but you can take it too far. Instead, focus your enthusiasm on the job you’re applying for. If you like the company and its products, share that. But don’t fake it. Just be honest when they ask why you want the job — they will appreciate your authenticity.
Have you fallen for any of these job-search myths? Now you know what to do instead to make your job search fruitful.