As with anything that seems even a little esoteric from the outside, there are a lot of myths that surround the practice of looking for work. Some of them are holdovers from an earlier time, and some are just misconceptions that spring up about how things work. Here are four job search myths that might be holding you back.
The One-Page Resume
If you’ve been working for a while, you’re not going to be able to fit all of your experience and skills onto one page. Don’t cut it. Don’t force it. Make sure that you remove unnecessary information (like your childhood paper route if you’re now in your thirties). Having said that, most resumes can fit on two or three pages. Also, don’t worry if you’re just starting out, and everything you’ve done CAN fit on one page. The resume should be a summary of your professional history. Let it take as much space as it needs.
There is a bad time to look for work.
There is a cyclical nature to some industries (like tourism or agriculture), but people move around in the professional sphere all year long. Sometimes the job search may take a little longer (like in the summer or at the holidays), but that doesn’t mean that hiring stops. If you keep looking when other people stop, you may have a bit of an advantage. Keep at it.
Applying to more jobs increases your chances.
I’ve heard this described as the “spray and pray” approach. Just send out a bunch of applications, and something’s bound to turn into an interview. If you send out a lot of custom applications, that may be true. But if you’re sending out the same generic cover letter and resume to every position, it won’t work. Tailor your application to the job for which you’re applying. Highlight your relevant skills. Note your related experience. Do a little research about the company, and demonstrate that you’ve done that research. Sending five applications like that will net you more interviews than fifty one-size-fits-all applications.
A fancy or cool resume will stand out.
If you’re applying to be a graphic designer, then maybe your resume can be a small sample of your portfolio. Web developer? Maybe you can put your resume on a website. But honestly, a resume is for telling a prospective employer what you have done and what you can do. You needn’t jazz it up. Make it easy to read and organize it well. That’s it. If you’re not sure where to start, find a template. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of templates on the internet. There are several built into many word processors. Feel free to modify them, but they’re a good place to start.
Looking for work, like everything else, has changed a great deal. You can search and apply online. Pounding the pavement isn’t always the best strategy. You’re likely to have several jobs during your professional life. If you’re not sure what to do, how to start, or where you should go, you can look for help. Come see us at WIL. We’d be happy to guide you along the way. Good luck.