8 job hunting myths that are undermining your search
In the midst of a recession, companies are much more careful about hiring the right talent at the right price. As competition for the best jobs heats up, are you sure your moves are keeping you in the game? These common job hunting myths might be sabotaging your big play.
The most common job hunting myths
Before you send out another resume or fill out another application, take a breather and look at these biggest myths in the hiring world today. Have you dropped the ball on any of these?
- There are no jobs out there. "The truth is that there are plenty of available jobs but there are simply more people vying for them than in the past," said author, speaker and recruiter Abby Kohut. "To stand out, use your network to help you and also try some old fashioned techniques. Faxing or mailing your resume will absolutely get you noticed because all the other job seekers are applying online."
- All the good jobs are online. Matt Youngquist, president of Career Horizons, recently told NPR that 70 to 80 percent of available jobs are not published. That means the vast majority of available positions will be found through networking, not through online applications.
- Temporary jobs aren't worth it. Savvy employers will look at their temporary positions as a proving ground, and often hire full-time from the temporary staff pool. At the very least, a temporary job gives you the chance to build relevant skills and knowledge while searching for something permanent, and it prevents a big hole of unemployment in your resume.
- Being unemployed for several months hurts job prospects. That depends entirely on what you do with your time away from the office. "Whether you're a twenty-something graduating from college or a homemaker returning into the professional market, make sure your resume stresses all your leadership responsibilities and achievements," said Alex Sukhoy, a career coach and adjunct professor at Monte Ahuja College of Business at Cleveland State University. "Were you president of a fraternity that raised money for an important cause? Did you spearhead a local initiative that resulted in the improvement of the local kids' school experience? How did you make a difference? Show this on your resume."
- Employers want to see a standard resume. "Resumes are the same but what is different is how recruiters find candidates," Kohut said. "In order to be found, you need to have the exact keywords on your resume that are in the recruiter's brain at the time that they are searching for you. So, nowadays, the content of the resume is far more important than what the resume looks like." How you introduce your resume matters, too. "The cover letter continues to be important as the method you use to differentiate yourself from all the other candidates who have similar work experience," Kohut said.
- Social media isn't taken seriously by employers. On the contrary, social media is a vehicle for hiring that can make a big difference if you know how to use it. "Job seekers at all levels should be using LinkedIn to connect to people that they currently know," Kohut advised. "Rather than simply applying for positions in the traditional way, they should use LinkedIn to figure out who the hiring manager might be, and then should send a resume directly to them in addition to applying the normal route." Another point to ponder is how social media could hurt you. "As for Facebook, since most job seekers are already on there, they should be careful to avoid cursing, negativity and opinions about controversial topics such as sports, politics and religion," Kohut said.
- Take what you can get. In a really tough economy, it can be tempting to jump on that first offer. However, keep in mind that taking a job you hate means you will be hunting for another job in just a few years. It is often better to go with freelancing, consulting or temporary jobs until you find the right fit.
- Follow up with a phone call. Following up is a good idea, but how you do it can make or break your chances of landing the job. Rather than sending an email or calling to remind them of your continued interest, send a handwritten thank you card to every person you met during the interview process. "Most importantly, be positive and be passionate," Sukhoy said. "Companies can train skills. They won't train attitudes."
The right approach from the start can improve your chances of scoring that winning offer. Now that you have a handle on the biggest job hunting myths, move forward with the confidence you need to make your job search a slam-dunk.