As a member of the Career Collective blogging community of resume writers and career coaches, this post is one of many this month discussing job hunting “rules” to break or outdated job search beliefs. I encourage you to visit other members’ responses linked at the end of my post and follow our hashtag on Twitter: #careercollective.
There are two ways you can accidentally sabotage your job search — by using outdated job search documents or abiding by outdated job search beliefs.
I’ve talked before about ways to tell if you have a retro resume that needs updating. Two of the most common offenses I see are leading off with an objective statement (please replace with a skills-based summary section) and writing responsibility-focused job descriptions (highlight accomplishments and achievements to show strong performance) with honorable mention for including the phrase “References Available Upon Request” (can be removed as this is assumed nowadays) and limiting your resume to one page (you are free to move onto a second page when necessary).
But even the most well written resume can’t succeed if you’re operating according to outdated job search beliefs. Today’s job search is not the job search of 5 or 10 years ago. Some would argue that today’s job search isn’t even the same job search of 3 years ago. Online professional networking, personal branding, and the employment market has changed how both employers and candidates function.
Some outdated “rules” that you should be breaking –
- It’s okay to be “found” online. It will not mean you’re looking for a new job. Years ago, it would have been a faux-pas for your profile or resume to be found online. Going online was only for those actively job searching and you didn’t want your manager or colleagues to assume anything. This is no longer the case. Online professional networking sites such as LinkedIn, Plaxo, and Ryze have made it no longer taboo for professionals to be connecting online. In fact, it can be dangerous now to not be found online as companies and recruiters alike are mining professional networking sites for passive job candidates. Candidate names are also Googled now more often than you might think and a list of positive search results is preferable to no results.
- It’s okay to pick up the phone. Put the ball in your court. With the number of candidates applying for any one open position today, if you’re not following up after an interview with a phone call or a thank you letter, someone else is. This also applies when submitting your resume for a position. Be creative, be persistent. If you feel strongly that you a solid fit for the position, submit your resume more than once. Send it first by email, and the second time, by hard copy in a full-size envelope. Call to follow up on your application or the next step of the process. Your persistence and confidence may help your odds. It’s a fine line though, please don’t take this as permission to be pushy and in-your-face. Keep it professional.
- It’s okay for a “thank you” letter to say more than just thank you. In fact, I want you to say a lot more. Sending a thank you letter after your interview gives you a perfect opportunity to follow up where the conversation left off, to argue your candidacy, provide further information, suggest a solution to a problem mentioned during a conversation, forward a proposal for how you would solve a problem or approach a situation, resolve any outstanding issues, or readdress a poorly worded answer or another perceived negative that may have arisen during the interview. If you send a short and sweet letter that merely says “Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you,” you are missing out a superb opportunity to highlight your strengths and reiterate your interest in the position -all in your own words. This of course works best when you send the letter promptly, ideally within 24 hours of an interview. Time is of the essence.
Read along for more advice from my esteemed colleagues in the Career Collective. Find their posts here:
Juice Up Your Job Search, @debrawheatman
It’s not your age, it’s old thinking, @GayleHoward
Want a Job? Ignore these outdated job search beliefs @erinkennedycprw
Job Search Then and Now, @MartinBuckland @EliteResumes
Break the Rules or Change the Game? @WalterAkana
The New: From The Employer’s-Eye View, @ResumeService
Job Search: Breakable Rules and Outdated Beliefs, @KatCareerGal
Job Hunting Rules to Break (Or Why and How to Crowd Your Shadow), @chandlee @StartWire,
Shades of Gray, @DawnBugni
3 Rules That Are Worth Your Push-Back, @WorkWithIllness
How to find a job: stop competing and start excelling, @Keppie_Careers
Be You-Nique: Resume Writing Rules to Break, @ValueIntoWords
Don’t Get Caught With an Old School Resume, @barbarasafani
How Breaking the Rules Will Help You in Your Job Search, @expatcoachmegan
Beat the Job-Search-Is-a-Numbers-Game Myth, @JobHuntOrg