When it comes to job searching, there is certainly a lot of advice out there! This is especially true in today’s digital age where anything, ranging from resume templates to networking tips, can be available with a simple tap of your keyboard. As a result, you may often run into conflicting advice from various “career resources”—something that can make it difficult to discern the difference between a best practice and a myth that can hold you back from potential opportunities.
So, how do you sift through this information and determine what “advice” you’re better off avoiding? Start by crossing these 5 common myths off your list:
Myth 1: Hiring managers don’t read cover letters
Whether you are asked—or have the option—to submit a cover letter with your application, this is an important step that you shouldn’t skip. While it may be true that a cover letter doesn’t hold as much weight as a resume, it can definitely serve as the extra thing you need to stand out from your competition. For instance, a well-written cover letter can let you expand on relevant experiences when your resume can’t, or even help you highlight your unique personality.
Myth 2: You will only find your next job by applying online
Though the internet can be a great resource for opportunities, solely relying on the web as a job search tool can potentially limit your options. Since not all jobs are published online (and the ones that are can receive hundreds of applications for a single posting), networking should be a key part of your strategy. Uncover this “hidden job market” by reaching out to your alumni network, connecting with likeminded professionals on LinkedIn, and leveraging your network for job leads.
Myth 3: Your resume will speak for your skills and professionalism on its own
As a job seeker, you know the importance of an organized and cleanly formatted resume. However, your resume can only take you so far in this digital age where hiring managers are utilizing social media to not only search for candidates, but also ensure they are hiring the most professional applicants. That being said, you’ll want to make sure your social presence is up to par before applying to jobs. Start by updating your LinkedIn, but don’t forget to double check your privacy settings on sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Remember, if there is any question that your content (i.e. status updates, pictures, etc.) might raise some red flags about your professional credibility, it’s best to simply remove it.
Myth 4: References don’t really matter
Too many job seekers make the mistake of treating references as a formality. Contrary to the popular belief that the reference check is something that companies only complete right before they extend an offer, your references can hold a lot of weight in an employer’s final decision. As a result, it’s important to be strategic in how you approach this process. To start, you’ll at least want to make sure you are selecting references who can speak to your skills and how they relate to the job at hand.
Myth 5: There are certain months where it doesn’t pay to look for a job
It’s a common misconception that hiring tends to slow down during certain times of the year such as the summer and holiday season. However, it is exactly this myth that can actually help you get a leg up on your competition. In today’s market where hiring is on a steady incline, the reality is that employers are constantly on the lookout for top talent. If you apply during a perceived “slow” time of year, you may find a new job much quicker than you originally expected!