5 Commonly Repeated Pieces of Bad Job Search Advice

Let me paint a picture for you. You’re not happy with your current work life and want to start searching for a new opportunity. You know the job search process has evolved over the past few years, but you’re not really sure what all has changed or what it will take to get noticed in a competitive job market. Especially now that the world is fighting for stability due to COVID.

The first place you turn to find information is the internet. A few taps on the keyboard and in 0.71 seconds you have 1.6 million results to wade through. What’s tried and true and what’s opinion?

Next you elicit advice from your inner circle only to find that everyone has their own take on what you should do and how it should be done.

Before you go down the rabbit hole and are left frustrated, here’s a heads up on 5 pieces of bad job search advice that you need to steer clear of.

1. Keep Your Information to One Page.

This is a common myth loosely tied to the fact that the initial review of a resume is mere seconds. Yes, cutting through the fluff and writing a concise resume that makes a clear case for your value is always in your best interests; however, that does not mean that you must keep your career story to one page (unless that is a direct request from a potential employer).

If you are an entry-level candidate, new graduate, or are transitioning into a completely different field, a one-page resume makes sense. If you have years of experience and the accomplishments to show for it, a two-page document will help give you the white space needed to frame the high points of your career along with meaningful context.

Write everything down and then edit ruthlessly. Make sure every word matters and weigh every entry for purpose and clarity.

2. A job search is a numbers game.

The foundation of every successful job search is based on strategy not on numbers. Sending out 1,000 poorly written resumes will not help you make the cut any more than sending out 10 will.
Instead of spending hours on job boards, use the time to define your goals and then unearth information about your target employer’s pain points. Next, refine your resume by aligning your skills, experience, and accomplishments with the needs you’ve identified.

To win interviews and close out your job search faster, it is vital you craft a compelling message that connects the dots between who you are and how you can provide the leadership, knowledge, skills, and expertise to resolve your next employer’s problems.

3. Stuff your resume with industry-related buzzwords and phrases.

Keywords are powerful because they quickly communicate alignment between your experience and the employer’s needs; however, optimizing your resume with keywords doesn’t mean filling your document with the latest jargon or phrases. In fact, by overstuffing your resume, you are diluting your message.

How many resumes samples have you come across that show a specific keyword over and over again? Here is an example:

Solutions-oriented business operations manager experienced managing business operations, leading business operation improvements, and developing operational strategies.

Keyword optimizing is about speaking the same language as the company by identifying where your skills and experience intersect with the key skills and phrases they’ve used in the job description. Written with this in mind, the above example transforms into this:

Business Management expert known for developing operational strategies that drive improvements, creating inclusive work cultures, and strengthening productivity.

See the difference?

Another piece of bad advice is hiding keywords through the use of white text, so it is invisible to the human eye. This technique might get the document to pass through a scanning system, but when a human reviews the document, they won’t be impressed.

4. Don’t waste time searching for a job in the 4th quarter / when the holidays are approaching.

It is a common misconception that companies don’t hire during the 4th quarter, but quite the opposite is true. According to a survey by CareerBuilder, 43% of employers continue to actively recruit before the year end.

Most of your competition is still holding fast to bad advice and are waiting to start their job search in January. From a numbers perspective, a lower number of applicants works in your favor so don’t put your job search on hold.

5. You need to put ‘References Available Upon Request’ on your resume.

The entire focus of your resume should be on answering the employer’s question, “why are you the candidate we need?”
Most employers ask for references later in the interview process, so there really isn’t a good reason to make note of availability on your document and by doing so, you are wasting space.

Have you been the recipient of bad advice from well-meaning friends? If so, share in the comments below.

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