There’s no one “right way” to conduct a job search, which is why many people find it extremely difficult. For those of us who complete tasks more efficiently or effectively with step-by-step instructions or fool-proof plans, job hunting can seem like a giant question mark. However, some of the assumed “rules” about job searching actually come from common myths and misconceptions about the process. Combining a lack of direction with intermittent misleading tips can make job searchers feel like they’ve been blindfolded, spun around, and left to fend for themselves.
That being said, debunking some of the common misconceptions about job hunting can help clear up the process a bit, steering you away from making mistakes based on bad advice or outdated information. To help out, we’ve collected the top ones that we hear about job searching, just to keep you updated, informed, and traveling in the right direction.
Here are the job search myths to look out for:
MYTH 1: The Job Postings You Find Online Represent the Majority of the Jobs Available
Experts estimate that only 15-20% of jobs available are advertised online, so even when it may seem like no companies are hiring, it’s important to act like they are. The best way to find out about “closed” or “hidden” opportunities that are most often kept within a company is via networking. Additionally, reaching out to hiring managers that you’ve been in touch with in the past or connected with via LinkedIn is a great way to discover opportunities that you may have otherwise never known existed.
MYTH 2: A History of “Job-Hopping” Will Hurt Your Chances
In our modern landscape, climbing up the corporate ladder at one company can take decades, so a resume that demonstrates what some individuals call “job-hopping,” or the frequent changing of jobs, is no longer frowned upon. Of course, switching jobs repeatedly before even one year can be a red flag, but in general it’s no longer expected that individuals will stay at one company forever, so don’t be afraid to share all of your experiences on your resume.
MYTH 3: Cover Letters are no Longer Necessary
We’re sure you’ve been told that cover letters don’t matter and that no one reads them anymore, but we’re begging you not to listen to this advice. While it may be true that some hiring managers don’t bother to open cover letters, others do, so it’s always worth taking the extra time to compose a well-worded letter that expresses your personality and expands on the work outlined on your resume. All in all, if a cover letter is optional, consider it mandatory.
MYTH 4: Opting Out of Salary Negotiations Will Increase Your Chances
Although employers are obviously always looking for opportunities to save money, they’re also looking to hire the best person for the job, as long as that person fits within the range they’re willing to pay. That being said, opting out of a salary negotiation doesn’t present you as a better candidate than others – and it could potentially lose you money that had already been allotted to your position. Keep the salary negotiation civil and realistic, but please, keep the salary negotiation.
MYTH 5: If You’re Over 50, You Won’t Find a Job
While ageism has undoubtedly had an effect on hiring, recent laws and guidelines on discrimination have changed this trend for the better. Sure, it may be harder to find a position in an industry filled with millennials, but as a general rule, if you’ve demonstrated hard work in your past and you’ve proven yourself to be the best candidate, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t get a position over a younger individual.
MYTH 6: If You’re Unemployed, You Should Accept the First Offer You Receive
We realize that being unemployed is not necessarily an easy ride, and it can lead to stress and anxiety about money and other issues in your life. Therefore, it can be tempting to accept any offer that comes your way when you’re job hunting while unemployed, but that’s not always the best idea. Accepting a position that you’re not excited or passionate about can ultimately lead to more unhappiness – and perhaps even another job search. Unless your financial situation requires that you find a job ASAP, it’s always a good idea to wait until the right offer comes along. Believe us – you’ll know it when you see it.
MYTH 7: You Should Keep Your Resume to One Page
While in the past, it’s been recommended to keep your resume to only one page, this advice is completely outdated and has now become a common myth spread from past generations to those currently job hunting. For recent grads and those with less experience, one page will do. However, if your resume calls for two pages, let it happen! It’s always better to describe your achievements in more detail than to cut things out. That being said, your resume shouldn’t exceed two pages.
MYTH 8: It Only Matters Who you Know
We’ve all heard it before: The most common way that people find new gigs is through personal or professional contacts. And of course, you can’t underestimate the power of the network. Networking is an invaluable skill that we always recommend refining whenever you get the chance. However, it’s important to remember that reaching out to your contacts and asking for a referral is not the only way to land a job. Every time you speak to a new interviewer or hiring manager or write a cover letter, consider yourself growing your network. If you treat every person you meet during your job search with respect and professionalism, they’ll be more likely to notice your determination, passion, and relevant experience. Therefore, it doesn’t only matter who you know – it also matters who you will meet.
A fact about job hunting that is most definitely not a myth? Downloading Rake will help you organize and make the most of your job search. We promise, that’s some advice you should really take.
Also published on Medium.