Five pieces of job-search advice you need to ignore

These could actually make it harder to find a job

When you are actively searching for a job, everyone has an opinion, and not every piece of advice is worth hearing.  In fact, bad job search advice may even be hindering your ability to land your next position, making the job search more stressful and drawn out.

Hopefully, you are not following this bad job search advice. Here are five pieces of advice you should avoid

Resumes Don’t Matter

It is not unreasonable to think that resumes must be outdated, that is with the advent of LinkedIn and personal websites; however, it’s just not true. A resume still matters and typically is the first thing a recruiter or hiring manager uses to make a judgment of your skills, abilities and hire-ability. Take your time to create a well-written, visually appealing and accurate resume of your accomplishments.

Cover Letters Don’t Matter Either

In a similar vein, a well-written cover letter, that is not just a reiteration of your resume, can get you an interview. It is true, many recruiters and hiring managers simply disregard the cover letter, but others see it as a reflection of personality, culture fit and basic communication skills. Further, it offers you the opportunity to highlight objections that may otherwise keep you out of the running, such as a change of career, gap in work history or relocation opportunity. Wouldn’t it be better to have a cover letter that is disregarded, rather than be overlooked because you didn’t have one prepared?

Don’t Waste Your Time Online

You are absolutely correct – you should not sit behind a computer for eight hours a day and search for your next opportunity. Talk about depression and isolation creeping into your life. Emailing, pursuing job search sites and connecting with people on LinkedIn will never replace face-to-face networking and building relationships; however, don’t simply neglect the dozens of postings every week. Be selective, choose reliable websites and pay attention to listings that do appear. Then use the online tools to identify people you can meet in person, or pinpoint those who may help you facilitate introductions into the company.

Apply For the Job, Even if you are Not a Fit on Paper

Most companies use an applicant tracking system as the first layer of their recruiting strategy. In short, it is a computer system that indicates whether you have the minimal qualifications for a job or not. Recruiters and hiring managers are not sitting around, reviewing resumes and determining where you would best fit in their organization. And, in fact, if they see your resume for multiple jobs with different titles, they disregard your application on the premise that you must not know what you want to do – are you a manager or vice president? If you are not an obvious match for a job, don’t apply. A smaller number of well-done applications customized to the job will get you better results. When you apply online, use your resume and cover letter to speak directly to the needs and deliverables of the job and spell out how you can, will and are going to meet them. If you are not a match and believe that you still qualified for the position (e.g., career change), you will need to figure out another way to get your resume into the hiring manager’s hands – think networking contacts – and demonstrate how your previous work experience in the current field translates seamlessly to the new position.

Always Send a Handwritten Thank You Note

You should always send a thank you note after an interview, but it’s perfectly fine to send it through email. In fact, think about sending both. A handwritten note demonstrates a commitment to go above and beyond as anyone can create and send an email. However, the risk with only a handwritten thank you note sent via the postal mail is that you will be too late. Employers move and make decisions quickly in today’s marketplace. A letter sent through the mail may arrive after a decision has already been made – eliminating you from the running.

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