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Job Hunting, Job Search Tips

Myths About Job Seeking

Computer users

1. No one is hiring.

As an employment specialist, I can soundly say that this is untrue. Although news stories about layoffs are abounding and unemployment rates are going nearly through the roof, jobs can still be found. Our state job board, Go2WorkSource.com website, shows currently that there are over 1200 job openings in the Tacoma area alone—and over 9300 job postings in King County/ Seattle area!

Test this yourself—go to your nearest online job board and simply enter your location—no keywords or categories. It should list the full number of jobs in that area.

I will say, however, that this is an employer’s market and they definitely have a greater choice of candidates than they have previously. For this reason job seekers need to re-invent how they conduct their job search. But it CAN be done!

2. Resumes should NEVER be more than one page or it won’t get read.

This was a line I heard repeatedly when I came into state employment—ironic considering I got my job with a 2-page resume. In fact, I have never had a one-page resume in my life!

Rarely can anyone who has established a career do their professional history justice in just one page. Some methods people have attempted to use have been to shrink the font, expand the margins, remove more and more details, and switch from bulleted statements to paragraphs to save space. In doing so, they are making their resumes nearly impossible to read. I tell people if I need my reading glasses to read their resume, they need to try again.

Two page resumes are not only permitted, they are necessary to paint a complete and accurate picture of you as a valuable employee. Be very careful about the information you choose to include, however—be brief, succinct and to the point. Also remember that people are used to reading anything from top to bottom, from left to right. Make sure the most important and pertinent information—the things the employer need most to know about you—are closest to the top and the left.

3. Employers favor younger candidates.

I encounter this quite frequently. The fact that I have noticed my caseload of long-term unemployed individuals is trending older seems to support this statement. Yet when I do a little more digging, I find the average age of those unemployed for over a year haven’t changed much. I have noticed that while I conduct outreach over a fair representation of all age groups, it’s the older population who are more likely to respond.

Workers age 50 and over are winning new jobs in approximately the same length of time as their younger counterparts. Employers understand that they bring a wealth of experience coupled with old-school loyalty and work ethic.

4. Don’t contact an employer if you don’t see a job posting for their company.

It is a well-established fact that there is a hidden job market out there. Employers will only go to the expense of time and money to post their positions online—or anywhere else—if they are having trouble finding the candidate they are looking for. The best chances of success are to beat them to the punch: target a few employers you’d like to work for, learn all about them, their corporate culture, their hierarchy, and so on, and then make connections with that company. Network with people there. Get to know them and let them get to know you and your passion to contribute to their success. It does work.

5. Posting your resume online and sending out applications will get you a job.

There’s something comforting about hitting the “submit” button when applying for online jobs: there’s a feeling that as soon as the resume or application hit the World Wide Web, employers are going to see it and will want to employ you.

While the Internet is an effective tool to search for a job, it can be fatal if you use it as your only method, as many (if not most) of my jobseekers do. Richard N. Bolles, author of What Color Is Your Parachute? reports that while some people do relate success stories of internet job hunting, the overall success rate of workers getting jobs online is only between 4 and 10 percent (with IT and computer-related positions toward the 10% end).

That doesn’t mean to back slowly away from the monitor; it just means to invest some time in other means of job searching: strengthen relationships and networks with friends and former coworkers; taking advantage of employment services, and attending job clubs are just a few of the many choices available.

6. I didn’t get the job… I’m not good enough.

Not only is this untrue (and unfair to yourself) but this thought process is dangerous. One rejection could discourage a person enough to shadow their future job search activities.

As jobseekers, we have to remember that with the high unemployment statistics we’re seeing right now, the number of rejection slips that pile up in our mailbox (or email inbox) is bound to grow. What is even more disheartening is not getting any response at all. While it is easy to blame the employer for just being cold-hearted enough to let people dangle out in the cold, employers and recruiters have told jobseekers and me that they just don’t have time anymore to send out hundreds of rejection notices for positions. Often they are running on diminished capacity themselves.

I will write more about these in the near future. Stay tuned…

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About kimberlyjmyers

I am a workforce development professional in Washington State. I have ten years experience working with dislocated workers, vocationally impaired, and people with disabilities on many levels and backgrounds from offenders to non-English speaking refugees from around the world. The One thing the clients I have worked with all had in common: there was some barrier to employment, and I work diligently every day to identify, address and remove those barriers.

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  1. Pingback: MYTH #3: Do Employers Favor Younger Candidates? « Job Seeking Today - November 11, 2011

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