JOB SEARCH / AUG. 31, 2015
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7 Job Search Myths That Are Holding you Back

searching with binoculars

Your bank account is empty, creditors are blowing up your phone, and you fear eviction -you need a job, and you need one fast. If you’ve researched the best job hunting tips, you might think you know everything about searching for a job. But if you do too much research or talk with too many people, it can be difficult to distinguish good advice from bad advice.

See Also: 5 Career Changing Myths Debunked

Everybody has advice to give you when you are looking for a job, whether that’s ordinary or unusual advice you should make sure it’s effect advice. Not being able to discern truth from fiction can prolong your search and put you at risk of financial ruin. This is the last thing you want to happen. So if you’re in the hunt for a job, it’s time to retrain your thinking and let go of common job search myths.

1. It's Enough to Search Job Boards

Given the number of employers hiring, it’s unrealistic to think that you’ll be able to contact every company with an opening -but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. A job isn’t going to fall into your lap, so you need to take advantage of every single resource available to you.

Some job searchers make the mistakes of thinking it’s enough to search online job boards. This is an excellent place to start, but it’s not the only place to find work. If you only search online job boards, you could miss out on a variety of opportunities and possibly settle for a job that’s less than desirable.

It might come as a shock, but many companies never post job openings on popular sites like Career Builder or Monster. Rather, they post job openings on their own websites or work strictly with recruiters. Recruiters accept applications on behalf of a company and prescreen job applicants. Not that you shouldn’t check popular job boards, but don’t rely on these. If you’ve got your eye on a company then regularly check their website for any vacancies, this way you are unlikely to miss an opportunity.

2. You Only Need Skills and Experience

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If you graduated top of your class, had internships and gained years of relevant work experience, you might think you’ll apply for any job and receive an offer in no time. Skills and experience are important, but employers want more. You might have what it takes to complete a job, but the employer may feel that your personality doesn’t match the company’s culture. For example, if the majority of the employees are outgoing and have lively personalities, the employer might hesitate hiring you if you’re shy or timid. The opposite can also occur. If you’re the loudest person in the group, your personality might be too much for an office that’s quieter.

Also, if you think your skills and experience are enough to get you hired, you could become overconfident and think you don’t have to sell yourself in an interview. Make sure you bring you’re A+ game to every single interview and let your personality shine through. Be friendly, personable, eager and demonstrate a willingness to help the company succeed.

3. Take What You Can Get

Some people might tell you to be thankful for any job that comes along -even if you know you’ll hate the work. It’s true that any job is better than no job, especially when you have a car payment, rent and other financial obligations. But just because you need a job doesn’t mean you have to accept any job offer.

If you have a little flexibility, it might be worth holding out for a job that offers what you’re looking for. Or else you might find yourself stuck in a position with no room for growth or advancement. And if you really hate the job, you’ll probably end up back in the job market after only a few months.

Don’t immediately accept a job offer. Mull over the offer for a couple of days. Does the position offer the salary you need? Does it provide the flexibility you seek? Will the position provide career satisfaction? Understandably, you have to do what’s best for your wallet. But if you can afford to, wait for the right opportunity so you don’t job hop every couple of months.

4. Apply for Every Job

This might seem like pretty good job search advice. If you scatter or mass mail your resume to every employer in your city, you’re likely to get a bite, right? Well, not necessarily.

Applying for as many jobs as you can provides mass exposure, but it doesn’t really give you a chance to customize your cover letter and resume. You might have better results targeting your job search and only applying for jobs that you truly want.

Hiring managers receive a ton of resumes and cover letters for every available position, so they can recognize a cookie-cutter resume from a mile away. If you submit the same generic resume or cover letter to employers, don’t expect a flood of phone calls. A good resume is specific to each company. Read job descriptions carefully and incorporate the employer’s needs into your resume/cover letter. This takes effort and time, but it’ll pay off and you’ll receive more job interviews.

5. Following Up Irritates Employers

Unless an employer specifically asks you not to follow up, it’s perfectly okay to call or email after a couple of days or a week to see if the position has been filled. Plus, a follow-up email or call keeps your name on the employer’s mind. Since many job applicants never follow up, the employer might like your initiative and move your application to the top of the pile.

6. Entry-Level Salaries Aren't Negotiable

Just because you’re fresh out of college with minimum experience doesn’t mean you can’t negotiate an entry-level salary. What you might not realize is that some employers leave wiggle room with the salary, and they expect candidates to negotiate. So don’t think you have to accept any salary an employer offers. Do your research online and find the average salary for the position based on your area, experience and education. If the average salary is $30,000, but the employer only offers $25,000, see if you can get an extra $5,000 or ask the employer to meet you halfway.

7. Cover Letters Don't Matter

Some job applicants think a cover letter isn’t as important as a resume, so they don’t put much effort into writing a stellar letter. However, some employers will not read your resume if the cover letter doesn’t impress them. A cover letter provides a brief overview of your skills, education and experience, and it’s here that you can mention salary expectations.

But cover letters do more than provide a summary of your resume. You can also use a cover letter to show off your personality and eagerness for the position. You need to “wow” employers from the very beginning, and this is where a cover letter comes into play.

See Also: 4 Steps for Creating Your Job Search Plan

Finding a new job can be challenging, time-consuming and frustrating. You never know exactly what employers want in an interview, and little mistakes you make can prolong your job search. But if you can recognize common job search myths, it will be easier to impress employers and get your foot in the door.

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