– Thanks to Arnie Fertig of JobHunterCoach.com for this post.
Whether you’re just starting your job search or you’ve been at it a while, I’m sure you know there are plenty of potential hazards along the road. Following are five very common job search myths and missteps, along with some facts and tips on how to avoid them. Happy hunting.
1. MYTH: Recruiters, career counselors or coaches get people jobs.
FACT: Recruiters identify and present top-tier talent to their clients. They get paid when their client hires someone they’ve brought to their attention. People get hired as a consequence, of course, but a recruiter’s primary loyalty is always to the client company who pays his or her commissions.
That’s not to say that Career counselors and coaches can’t help; they absolutely can. But don’t fall prey to the notion that a recruiter, career counselor or coach will “get” you a job. While in one way or another they might be great resources, you need to own and take responsibility for your job search from beginning to end. Your job is to get a job, and you should devote the same energy and creativity to it that you would provide to any employer.
2. MYTH: Your elevator speech is all about you.
FACT: A typical elevator speech begins something like, “I have eight years as a [insert job title here].” You won’t likely be hired for how long you’ve been doing whatever it is that you’ve been doing. What an employer really cares about is the value you bring. Demonstrate that right off the bat by changing the beginning of your elevator speech to something like: “I’ve racked up successes like A, B and C over the course of the last eight years, and I can help to improve your business in the areas of X, Y and Z.”
3. MYTH: Networking is about asking for help.
FACT: Networking is about building and enhancing relationships with people. It is about sharing information, insights, personal and professional development. Effective networking is about “paying it forward” and “giving to get,” not begging for anyone and everyone you know to help you get a job. The key is to build your network on an ongoing basis, and to be viewed as a resource rather than a leech. When you go about networking this way, people will be more than willing to lend a hand to you in numerous ways, including introducing you to others who can add value for your job-hunt.
4. MYTH: Your résumé needs to describe all the things you’ve been responsible for doing.
FACT: Your résumé is a marketing document. It should not restate your job description nor serve as your autobiography. It should present your branding statement, key skills and the accomplishments that distinguish you from your competition.
When you simply describe all the things you were supposed to do, you lump yourself in with all the other applicants possessing the same general background. Instead, your aim should be to distinguish yourself from them by conveying your unique successes and accomplishments, and to show how you achieved them.
5. MYTH: It is OK to take some time off “just for yourself” after leaving a job, before you start trying to find another job.
FACT: It is almost always easiest to get a job when you have a job. Multiple studies all confirm that the longer you are out of work the harder it becomes to gain consideration. Job seekers who have been unemployed for more than six months are rarely given the favorable treatment they would have received earlier.