Not all job search advice is evergreen. Some, despite the best of intentions, is flat out obsolete. But how do you know how to tell the advice that works in today’s job search from the outdated tips of yesterday?
To help answer that question, we asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) a question of our own:
What is one outdated job search tip you’ve heard, and what should people be doing instead?
Be sure to put these helpful answers to work in your job search!
1. Research Only the Company
Honestly, that’s good advice and should be a prerequisite to every interview. But looking up a company will not provide the same insights as looking up the people who work there. With the kind of social networks and platforms available today, it’s much easier to find connections and share work experiences. More often than not, you’ll find yourself better informed with more realistic expectations.
2. Skills Override Personality
In today’s job market, companies are concerned about more than your skills and experience. Sure, your skills might get you an interview. But they probably won’t get you the job. Companies want you to fit into their culture and have a positive impact on their creativity, performance and productivity. Business is about people and relationships, not purely about skills. So show your personality!
3. Always Fill in Your Resume Gaps
One of the most outdated job hunting tips is to include all of your work experience on a resume and to never leave gaps. Instead, what’s important is to only include your most relevant work experience. If there is a gap you are worried about, then address it professionally in the cover letter. Otherwise, some resumes can end up two or three pages long — which in the eyes of a potential employer is worse than just having a gap.
4. A National Job Board Is All You Need
While national and global sites such as CareerBuilder or Monster are useful to check periodically (even daily), don’t expect them to be the panacea to your job search. It’s outdated to think that your job can be found in one national national job database. Instead, search your local newspaper (yes, they still exist). Dive into specific digital resources, such as Google groups, LinkedIn groups or Facebook groups.
5. Always Dress Formally for the Interview
“Wear a suit and tie to the interview” is most definitely one of those outdated job hunting tips. Instead, research the company’s dress code. If the dress code is casual such as jeans and a T-shirt, step it up and wear a polo shirt. This shows you made an effort to look nice but aren’t trying too hard. Overdress compared to the interviewer? That puts you out of context and could make you uncomfortable.
6. Only Apply to Jobs Listed Online
These days there are many incredible candidates out there. So hiring managers want someone who stands out. They want a candidate they consider a go-getter. So if there is a job you want, do not wait for it to appear on LinkedIn. Get after it! Do your homework. Contact the necessary people to get in the door. They may not be hiring now, but stand out now. When the time does come, they’ll remember.
7. Don’t Negotiate
Negotiating terms might not seem like the best strategy. After all every business wants to find talented workers and save as much money as possible at the same time. But every reasonable employer understands that good work needs to be paid well. So if you don’t like the terms of the offer, negotiate. If the company is in for quality, they won’t mind reaching a mutually-beneficial compromise.
8. Include Every Past Job on Your Resume
I recommend to be selective with the content you include on your resume. If there is too much content, your message can get lost in the weeds. Make sure to include the aspects that would be most helpful for the specific job you are applying for. Then carefully highlight those skills and achievements them on your resume. You have a limited amount of space to show your qualifications; make sure you use it wisely.
9. Walk Right In and Ask for the Manager
For a long time, the advice given to job seekers was to cold call. Specifically, walk into their business of choice, ask for the hiring manager and give a pitch while offering a resume. This may have been effective in the past. But the modern job environment is all about networking, references. It is also leveraging your existing connections. Build a relationship with your future employer first. Then walk in with confidence.
10. Include Your GPA on Your Resume
All throughout school, you’re taught to have a high GPA. One that will wow recruiters and also convince them to hire you. However, if you aren’t fresh out of high school or college, your GPA doesn’t mean a lot. In fact, following what is perhaps one the most outdated job hunting tips out there may indicate you’re reliving the good old days. Today’s employers look at better indicators of a quality hire: skills, experience and expertise.
11. Keep Calling Until You Get an Answer
You’ve submitted your resume for a position. But you haven’t heard back from the company. Some people will tell you to be persistent; to keep calling the company to follow-up. While it is important to follow up, don’t bother a potential employer by calling the office over and over again. Instead, send a polite follow-up email to let the company know that you’re available to answer any questions they have.
12. Never Turn Down an Interview
Some people say you should never turn down an interview, especially if you’re new professional. They say it’s good practice; that you never know how it will turn out. But, if you are on the fence about a company or position and are also sure you wouldn’t accept the position, don’t go to the interview. After all, that will only waste the interviewer’s valuable time – and your own.
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.