The absolutes of job search are puzzling; as in most things in life, there are few black and white rules. While you want to follow some rules of thumb, you also should climb outside of your (or others’) boxes from time to time to really take charge of your career versus following the pack.
The following list of 10 trends not to follow is Part 2 of a two-part series designed to help you winnow out trends that are either outdated or misguided.
1. Don’t be creative in your resume. Don’t let fear that your resume will be rejected because of a little orange or blue punctuating the content or because a brilliant sales graph pops from the profile summary. Instead, illustrate your value with a marketing menu of sizzle. Social media has created a flatter, more level communication playing field and an explosion of technology innovation has opened up opportunity for more appealing career story telling.
2. Forget the resume. The resume is dead. Via Dictionary.com, the definition of a ‘resume’ is: A summing up; summary. Somewhere along the way, a hiring decision-maker wants to read something that sums up your career, and even though the resume vehicle is evolving, the essence of the resume is a ‘sum-up’ of your career. Whether the content is funneled into Word or LinkedIn or a personal website, it is still a resume.
3. Tell everyone you know you are looking for a job. Instead of making everyone in your circle uncomfortable with the responsibility of helping you get a job, avail yourself to be of service to others, inside and outside of your circle. Not only will others be grateful—if in fact you are offering authentic, what’s-in-it-for ‘THEM’ support—but it is also natural for them to want to return the favor and help you back, if they can.
4. Don’t circumvent human resources to inquire about a job. It will make them mad. If you are fairly confident that going through normal HR channels will create a logjam for your resume, then what will going around them hurt? It may or may not ruffle any feathers if you find a way to articulate your value directly with the hiring manager/owner/president/whomever is actively seeking to fill a role. If they like what they see, they may push past the HR ‘rules’ to get you in the door.
5. The more social networks you join the better. If you try to be everywhere then you may end up going nowhere. While you may find testing the waters at a variety of social networking channels of value to see which are a fit, ultimately landing on just two or three sites may be the best solution to adding meaningful traction to your search.
6. Perfect your elevator pitch. Woven with vivid content and shared with just the right inflections and oomph, some people’s pitches sound as if they’ve been recycled thousands of times. While an elevator pitch is not in and of itself bad, be careful about regurgitating the same words, over and over. Keep your pitch fresh, and be natural in how, and to whom, you are delivering your words.
7. Online job boards and ads don’t work. While focusing solely on job boards or posting your resume to corporate sites likely will only lengthen an already tough job search, ruling these online methods out completely is unnecessary. Many resumes are ‘found’ on CareerBuilder, Monster, Glassdoor, or one of the many job sites; as well, posting to a corporate career site may be that golden ticket to get your next interview. Job search strategy is, after all, multipronged.
8. Post updates to your LinkedIn profile on a ‘regular’ schedule. Instead, make a ‘note’ on your weekly calendar to update your status, but be as intuitive as you can about it. If you don’t have anything you feel compelled to say, share or inquire about, then hold off. The more rigid you become about rules of thumb on social networking activity, the more unnatural it comes across to the audience you are trying to attract.
9. Never quit a job before you have a new job. Generally, this is good advice. Careerists are a bit more attractive to hiring folks when employed. With that said, many career changers drop kick a miserable, unhealthy situation before their next offer is in hand, reinvigorating their energy and optimism. The key is ensuring this is the right decision for you; talk it over with a significant other, spouse, mother, father, best friend, coach, etc., to help decide.
10. Hand-write and/or snail-mail every thank you note. Consider the recipient, as well as the speed of the hiring process. Even if you do snail-mail a follow-up letter, consider emailing a brief thank you as well. Many folks are impressed by the quicker communication as well as prefer a paper-free interaction.