You’ve heard millions of job search success stories and job search nightmares. Friends, family, and colleagues have advised you on what to do, and what not to do. The problem is that much of this advice and information is conflicting. So, how do you know what is truth, and what is fiction? Our pros are here to bust some of the most infamous job search myths.
MYTH: The more jobs you apply for, the more interviews you’ll land.
FACT: When it comes to applying for a job, never pick quantity over quality.
Recruiters are faced with the task of reviewing a huge volume of resumes on a daily basis. They typically will take 60 seconds to scan a resume before putting it in the “yes” or “no” pile. Lindsay Witcher, practice development manager for transition concierge, RiseSmart, says that the “spray and pray” approach is the least effective strategy to employ when applying for a job, with the smallest return on investment. “A job search must be focused,” Witcher advises. “Stop wasting your time applying to every single job you find online that seems even like a tiny bit of a fit. Instead, become very clear on exactly what your professional value proposition is, what type of company you want to work for, and exactly which types of positions are a strong fit for your strengths and background.” Courtney Smith, vice president and founder of specialized executive search firm, The Lakeside Group Associates, recommends that you always choose quality over quantity in your job search. “Instead of sending your resume to every position that looks like it may be a match, spend your time making every submission count. Your resume should stand out above the rest and should be tailored for each company and position,” Smith explains.
Myth: You only need one version of your resume.
FACT: Customize your resume to meet the job’s requirements.
“A mistake I see candidates committing is that they only have one version of their resume. Your resume is a presentation about yourself, and each company and each opening is a new audience. Tailor your resume per position, just like you would tailor a presentation to different audiences,” says Michael Pietrack, vice president of medical affairs recruiting of medical search firm, The Alpine Group. Recruiters screen resumes based on the specific information included in a job posting, so if a resume is not customized to the job you are applying for, he or she won’t take more than a moment before moving on. Timothy Wiedman, certified PHR and associate professor of management and human resources at Doane College, recognizes the importance of highlighting what aspects of your professional background fit the advertised requirements of a position. “Some items in the generic resume may be de-emphasized by removing some details that are not related to the job in question, while other items are expanded to highlight how the candidate’s background fits the requirements of a specific position.”
MYTH: Job hoppers are doomed.
FACT: If there is a legitimate explanation, job hopping won’t impact the hiring manager’s final decision.
James Santagata, principal consultant and founder of career acceleration and consulting firm, Career OverDrive, says that being a job hopper doesn’t have to be a deal breaker. “Rather than trying to hem and haw and sheepishly explain why you left each position, focus on reframing and explaining why you selected the new opportunities – explain what you were running to rather than what you were running away from.” If you are asked why you left a position, highlight what you gained from each career move instead of what you lost.
MYTH: It’s not worth job hunting over the holidays.
FACT: The off-season can be the best time to put yourself out there.
“Employers hire 365 days a year. There is no ‘bad time’ to look for a job. Sure, there are times of year that traditionally see more hiring than others, but there is no time of year when hiring ceases to happen,” Witcher states. With much of your competition taking a break from their search during the holiday season, it is a great time for you to put yours into high gear. Stephanie Daniel, SVP of career management and consulting firm Keystone Associates, recommends that you “Capitalize on the fact that there is less competition for jobs and a wider variety of networking activities and holiday gatherings that could very well put you in front of decision makers and potential employers.”