With the multitude of advice and information out there regarding the job search process, how can you be sure you’re receiving the right tips? Many employers and career experts seem to disagree on the best way to answer certain interview questions, whether or not certain steps are necessary in the application process, and what to include on (and exclude from) your resume. But while these are all more stylistic choices of each employer, there are several “myths” regarding the job search process that the job seeker would be better off avoiding. Be wary of job search myths, such as the following, that come commonly disguised as advice but are often big blunders too many candidates make:
The Myth: Your resume should not exceed one page.
The Facts: This may have been true in the days when job hopping was a strictly negative term, but now that it’s more common for people to hold several different positions at several different companies during their careers, it’s understandable that fitting an entire employment history, a list of skills, and education onto one page can be difficult. There is no golden rule as to how long a resume should be, and in fact, professionals with extensive experience—think 10 years or more—are often expected to have resumes up to two pages in length. However, you should still keep your resume concise and easy on the eyes, so be sure to check out our post on reducing resume clutter if yours is getting lengthy.
The Myth: You can rely solely on your connections.
The Facts: Networking is an important part of anyone’s job search, but the connections you make aren’t necessarily always going to land you a job. Your network can help support your career in a number of ways through every stage if you maintain it, but while in the job hunting phase, try to avoid relying only on others to find you a position. You’ll land a job through hard work, versatility, and determination on your part—not by expecting others to find you work.
The Myth: Hiring managers don’t read cover letters.
The Facts: This one has been circulating for some time now, and while some employers may choose to forgo the cover letter, many understand that it is a great way for a candidate to leave a lasting impression and expand on his or her qualifications. Write a winning cover letter and you could very well capture an employer’s attention; leave one out when an employer wants to see one, and you’ll most likely harm your chances of landing an interview. The only time including a cover letter with your application is a bad idea is when the hiring manager specifies that you shouldn’t.
The Myths: Experience makes or breaks your success.
The Facts: While certainly important, concrete work experience doesn’t always take precedence when a hiring manager is choosing between candidates. In fact, there are a number of skills and attributes that can add up to equal or outweigh the quoted experience range in a job listing, so don’t let a slightly higher experience range discourage you from applying!
The Myth: Applying to jobs online is enough to get you hired.
The Facts: Although you can’t always rely solely on your network, you can’t expect to land a job fast if you limit yourself to applying to online applications. There are plenty of professionals who get hired by finding a listing, applying, and having a successful interview, but they are becoming rarer. In many cases, those who stick to online job boards and land a job tend to only find a position after quite a bit of time spent searching. If you want to find a new job and ensure it is the right job, you have to exhaust all your resources—and that includes printing out tangible copies of your resume and stepping out from behind the computer.
However, as the job application process becomes more digital and more and more hiring managers use online systems to track applicants and candidates, it’s becoming more difficult to be found by more traditional job search methods. Keep a balance of on- and off-line searching in your job hunt, and you should be able to cover enough bases to get hired in a decent period of time.