Today’s gift is free though it has great value. I present to you the gift of knowledge. Knowledge about dispelling the misconceptions surrounding job seeking (to be exact). Some may be a little disagreeable to your preconceived notions, some may be a revelation… all will be constructive and useful contributors to your ultimate job search success.
- Experience that is 20 or more years old barely rates the arch of an eyebrow by the person reading your resume. Even if it was the launchpad of your entire career—the job that prompted your ascent to prominence and untold riches, it is in career terms, a lifetime ago. By accentuating and savouring your past glories you are simply highlighting the sad fact that your career was all downhill from there; a commemoration of better times that didn’t match up to those heady expectations. If you haven’t used those skills since, they are a rusty relic of a rich past. If you have used them recently, then focus on the jobs where they will receive more attention.
- Your resume won’t be read in its entirety. It’s distressing to think that the mental anguish expended over a comma placement or a special phrase is unlikely to get more than a perfunctory sweep, but sadly, it’s true. The person screening your resume in the first round needs to see a strong value proposition that meets the employer’s brief. Your resume must be clear about the role you seek and prominently showcase the right skills and background to do the job (and do so in the first page). If you make the first cut, then your resume will invite closer scrutiny.
- Writing a fact-based resume with volumes of technical data will fail to hit the mark. In-depth talk of scientific, academic, technology or industry-specific references are about as boring as getting bailed up at a Christmas party by a guy extolling the virtues of dust bunny collections. Never lose sight of the fact that your next employer is hiring a human. That human needs to play well with others and communicate. People spouting acronyms are a dime-a-dozen; but the valuable employee is the one who can communicate; who can break complex issues down to understandable words and phrases and show an understanding of why these things are being done for the company.
- Your resume is unlikely to be viewed by an expert in your field. The chance of the person reading your resume being technically accomplished is minuscule. Depending on the size of the company and whether recruiting is outsourced, initial resume screening may be handled by an entry-level administrative officer working from a general brief. Don’t baffle people with obscure references to things you think they should know. Make the person reading your resume envisage how working with you would be a positive experience and allow them to understand the “why” of what you do and how it makes a positive impact.
- Writing a “general” resume is a complete waste of your time. Nobody is going to look at your skills and work out where you would be a good fit. You need to make a definitive pitch for the job you want and underscore that pitch with relevant information that remains on topic.
- If you act like a prima donna, if you think that bad manners are going to earn you respect, if you make the mistake of thinking you’re “bonding” with the interviewer by showing your prejudices, revealing company-confidential information, or making inappropriate gender, cultural or age references at interview, you’re going to be out of work a long time. Either adjust your attitude or get used to looking at Oprah from the prime real estate of your couch. (Don’t forget to be pleasant and courteous to all you meet too. From the time you arrive at that building, your interview is starting and eyes are watching).
- Putting on a front to portray the person you think they want to win the job, won’t work. Don’t try to be someone you are not and don’t lie. Granted, this nugget of advice may be hard if your natural inclination is as outlined in the previous point. People who arrive at interview with fake sincerity, fake skills, fake interest and lies, are exposed and despatched in record time. If you want a pointer, just recall how most people feel about politicians. I rest my case.
- Your interviewer is not your friend. You may find you’re Tweedledee to his Tweedledum, but don’t allow yourself to be lulled into a false sense of security to reveal more than you should. The purpose of the interview is to cull people from the process. Be friendly, be polite, have a laugh, but never be under any illusion that you are “bonding” with the interviewer and in different circumstances you’d be out clubbing or having a beer. This is not personal, it’s professional and don’t you forget it!
- Applying for advertised jobs is not the best way to get a job. Shocking as that may sound, positioning yourself as one of a hundred or a thousand candidates for the most popular or prominent jobs advertised is an exercise in despondency. Instead try to ensure you are the only candidate by using your network to establish a need for your services and collaborate with influencers to create a job custom-made for your talents. It is not serendipity that people find themselves jobs that have not been advertised. It takes hard work, keeping your ear to the ground, remaining in touch with your network, and being astute enough to identify organisational voids where you could slip in seamlessly.
What have you been doing or heard of that ended up to be more myth than truth?
I’m thrilled to be a member of the #CareerCollective. A group of professionals who share their combined expertise with the job search community in the form of articles on a specific topic once a month. Job Search Misconceptions is this month’s topic. Please visit their links below to read more and follow the hashtag #careercollective on Twitter
- 5 Misconceptions Entry-Level Job Seekers Make, @heatherhuhman
- How “Interview Savvy” Are You?, @careersherpa
- Employers Don’t “Care”, @ValueIntoWords
- Misconceptions about Using Recruiters, @DebraWheatman
- 15 Myths and Misconceptions about Job-Hunting, @KatCareerGal
- Are You Boring HR? @resumeservice
- Job Search Misconceptions Put Right, @GayleHoward
- Who Cares About What You Want in a Job? Only YOU!, @KCCareerCoach
- How to get your resume read (sort of), @barbarasafani
- The 4 secrets to an effective recruiter relationship, @LaurieBerenson
- Job Interviews, Chronic Illness and 3 Big Ideas, @WorkWithIllness
- The secret to effective job search, @Keppie_Careers
- Superstars Need Not Apply, @WalterAkana
- The Jobs Under the Mistletoe, @chandlee
- 8 Common Sense Interview Tips @erinkennedycprw
- Still no job interview? @MartinBuckland @EliteResumes
- Misconceptions about the Hiring Process: Your Online Identity is a Critical Part of Getting Hired, @expatcoachmegan