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Seven Job Search Myths

Excerpted from Job Search and Career Checklists: 101 Proven Time-Saving Checklists to Organize and Plan your Career Search (JIST Works).
When it comes to job hunting, there is no shortage of "experts" to tell you exactly what you need to do to find a good job. That said, there’s also no limit to the amount of bad advice you can accumulate in the process of your search. Here is a list of some of the most common job hunting myths.
Myth #1: There is one right way to find a job.

Although many job hunting surveys point to the power of networking as the single most valuable job search strategy, an effective job search strategy is much like a well-built financial portfolio that reflects the value of diversification.

In addition to networking, make sure that you respond to advertised listings, talk to recruiters, contact potential employers directly, and learn how to parlay contract or temporary jobs into permanent full-time positions.
Myth #2: If a job isn’t advertised in the paper or on the company’s Web site, there aren’t any positions available.

Although many employers use classified ads and online job postings to advertise open positions, many jobs are never advertised. In order to identify these hidden jobs, you must proactively call companies that interest you and continue to develop and expand your network of contacts.
Myth #3: Nobody reads cover letters.
As a matter of course, resumes should almost always be accompanied by a well-written cover letter. This cover letter can be valuable for several reasons:

  • It targets the specific person and job title as a way of ensuring that your resume makes it to the desk of the right hiring authority.
  • It provides an opportunity to highlight those skills and experiences that are most relevant to your target (regardless of whether they are listed on your resume).
  • It is a clear illustration of your writing skills.
  • It is the professional thing to do.

    Myth #4: A resume should always be one page.

    As traditional career ladders have vanished, so too has the one-page resume started to go the way of the dinosaur. For many experienced job hunters, limiting your resume to one page doesn’t make sense if that means that you must also eliminate potentially important information in the process.

    As a general rule, your resume should be succinct and well-written. Depending on the nature of your experience, you may need two pages to include all relevant information. Having said that, try to include the most relevant information in the first page.

    Myth #5: If a company likes my resume, they will call me in for an interview.

    In a perfect world, this would be the reality of every job search. But in the so-called Information Age, the reality is that it’s easy for your resume to get lost among the hordes of paperwork.

    It is incumbent on you to make sure that your resume gets noticed. You can do that by following up your resume and cover letter with a telephone call or e-mail to make sure that the recruiter knows who you are and why you are so well-qualified.

    Myth #6: It’s not what you know that matters; it’s who you know that counts.

    In fact, it’s both who and what you know that counts. While a good referral can get you in the door and in front of the right people, if you don’t have the skills and experience to do the job, the odds are against you. To make sure that doesn’t happen, take the time and develop a focused job search strategy that really capitalizes on your strengths and qualifications.

    Myth #7: When it comes to sending out resumes, the more the merrier.

    Although many people do take a shotgun approach to job hunting, a qualitative approach to the job market is usually more successful than a quantitative one. To do this, you must spend some time and effort researching the job market and identifying specific employers who can benefit from what you have to offer, and then approach them, knowledge in hand.

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