Want To Get Ahead? Kick These 6 Job Search Myths To The Curb

The job search can be riddled with frustration. Believe it or not, some of this frustration may be tied to common job search myths. Several of these little monsters are floating around in dark clouds waiting to rain on your job search parade. Let’s shake a few of them out of the clouds, debunk them and move forward with your job search feeling more prepared, focused and intentional. I’ve summoned six repeat offenders to come forward and take their lumps.

Myth #1: It’s best to apply to as many online job sites as possible.

Casting a wide net in your search is not the right strategy. The most fruitful job seekers are prepared and the most fruitful job searches are focused. Take the time upfront to get really clear about what you want. If your response is, “I don’t know what I really want”, then my response is, “of course you do, and you’re the only one who knows.” Take a little introspection time to uncover the what, why, where, when and who of your job search and how you want this whole process to unfold. Begin with my Work Print™Innercise. Preparation – thoroughly addressing these and other pertinent questions will save you a lot of time, effort and money, and minimize your frustration.

TIP: Create your own ideal job description – go to a variety of different job sites, cut and paste aspects of different jobs that appeal to you and see what you dream position looks like.

Myth #2: It is nearly impossible to get a job if you are just graduating from college and don’t have previous job experience.

First of all, let’s send the word “impossible” packing. ‘If you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right,’ so heed Henry Ford’s words and adjust that attitude. I know you want to yell at the top of your voice, “How can I get the experience if no one is willing to give me a job”? I get it, but remember, experience isn’t always wrapped in compensated work. And, work isn’t just about compensation. Work is engaged physical or mental activity to achieve some purpose or result. Internships, volunteering, study abroad opportunities, shadowing someone, and other creative approaches qualify and can result in some great work experience. Wherever you are, ask, “How can I add value?” Then, ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS, search out ways to engage and get busy. Don’t forget to expand your network and build relationships.

TIP: Make the most of every situation – be very intentional and know what you want. Also, tap into your parents’ and neighbors’ networks.

Myth #3: My entire career has been in XYZ and it’s a dying field. I lack the skills and knowledge to work at another job.

First, don’t get overly sappy about your dying industry; it will make it much easier to navigate the inevitable changes just around the corner. Then, it’s time to reframe your thinking about the situation. Ask, “what did I learn in my industry? What can I transfer into another more desirable position?” Pull out a sheet of paper and get to writing; keep going until the well runs dry. Next, identify specific companies that you want to work for and remember, many skills are transferable.

TIP: Don’t get overwhelmed with the doom and gloom of economic forecasting, things may be shifting, but you’re in the driver’s seat. Take control of your situation, stay open to the possibilities and be creative.

Myth #4: I have too many interests and I’ve had too many jobs – no one is going to hire me.

The average person born in the latter years of the baby boom (1957-1964) held 11.3 jobs from age 18 to age 46, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nearly half of these jobs were held from ages 18 to 24. This average is expected to increase in subsequent generations. Be creative in how you compose your resume, consider: what’s transferable and what’s not? What can I quantify? How have I created value? Consider using a hybrid resume – use a cross between a functional and chronological format. Tease out the experience and value that may be hidden in the many positions you’ve held.

TIP: Check out Barbara Sher’s book, Refuse to Choose!: Use All of Your Interests, Passions and Hobbies to Create the Life and Career of Your Dreams.

Myth #5: I don’t really have to include a cover letter when the job application requests that I submit one.

If it says they want a cover letter, they want one! Plus, a cover letter is an excellent way to showcase your writing abilities and highlight what makes you an ideal candidate. Do some research on the company and the position; know exactly what you are applying for. Make sure your cover letter is well-written, clear and to the point; no grammatical or spelling errors. Include bullet points and customize your content to reflect your achievements.

TIP: Create a two-column list to work from – on one side note the preferred qualifications, on the other note how specifically you meet those qualifications.

Myth #6: My resume should only be one page.

It depends on the position. Typically, you don’t want to exceed two pages. Remember, your resume is your billboard – it should grab attention. The first page is the most critical– showcase your skills and areas of expertise, your core competencies and selected achievements. You only have a few seconds to capture the reader’s attention. How much to highlight will depend on a variety of factors.

TIP: Take the time needed to get your resume details in order; it will make the process a lot smoother. Ask a professional coach or consultant for help!


About the Author

Robin C. Crawford provides mentoring, consulting and educational services to college students and mid-career professionals eager to tap into their super powers and find more satisfying and meaningful work. Listen to Design Your Best Work Life Radio for cool conversations with people who love what they do; and for tips, tools and strategies to shift your work life in a new direction. For more information join the mailing list, read her blog or sign up or a Possibilities Conversation.

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job, Jobsearch, Resumes, search