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These Job Hunting Tips Used to Work, Now They Could Hurt Your Search

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Have you ever gotten a piece of job-hunting advice that just seemed, well…outdated? For instance, it was once thought that showing up at a business where you wanted to work, resume in hand was a surefire way to make a great impression. Today, that tactic would come off as inconsiderate and out-of-touch.

Job hunting expectations and conventions change quickly. Job hunting 20 or 30 years ago looks different than it does today – but so do job hunts from 10 or even five years ago. With Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and other automated tools and social networking profiles becoming part of your application package, many older job hunting tips just aren’t relevant anymore.

Here, we’ll talk about some common outdated job-hunting tips you should forget and suggest ways to spend your time more wisely.

Outdated advice: You should only apply to a job posting if you fit all of the qualifications.

You may have gotten the advice to only apply for jobs if you have experience with all of the requested qualifications. Not true. Hiring managers list many qualifications so they can have more of a breadth of applicants. They are most interested in finding someone to fit the scope of the role and the company’s culture and values, not simply check off all the boxes.

As long as you can fill most of the competencies, you should apply for a position that interests you. Hiring managers also want candidates willing to learn and grow, so if you demonstrate your willingness to develop your skills, it’s still appropriate to apply.

Outdated advice: The only way you can get an interview is with a great resume.

While a great resume is still a critical component of your overall job search strategy, it isn’t the only consideration before you’re hired for a position. Hiring managers also look at your online presence and pay particular attention to your LinkedIn profile. In fact, once you’re in their system they may even only peruse this online platform moving forward, forgoing reading your resume altogether.

Job hunting tipsThat’s why it’s important to keep your page updated with all of your relevant skills, experience, and work history. Sometimes, recruiters even reach out to candidates whose LinkedIn profiles demonstrate suitability for the position before or instead of posting it on job sites. You can create additional collateral touch-points to enhance your application, such as a personal website or online portfolio.

Outdated advice: Highlight your achievements, not your skills.

While quantifiable achievements are important to hiring managers, they care just as much about the soft skills and even personal traits that would make you successful in the position. Can you build relationships? Can you identify problems that require solutions? Highlighting these soft skills and more in your application materials is just as important as discussing the hard skills you’ve developed.

Outdated advice: Apply to as many job postings as you can to increase your chances of getting hired.

This is one of the worst pieces of advice you can use in today’s job market. Perhaps when jobs were listed in the newspaper, you could have applied to every semi-relevant posting there. However, now that it’s easy to find dozens (or more!) suitable job listings around the country, you’d stretch yourself too thin if you strove for application quantity over quality.

Instead, make sure you’re searching for positions that fit your niche. Then, tailor your resume, cover letter, and other requested materials to each specific position. Be sure to address the requirements mentioned in the job posting and use the exact language from the job posting as much as possible. Use your network wherever possible in order to create connections to potential employers beyond your application.

Spending time customizing resumes and cover letters for too many positions will sap your energy and demotivate you in your search.

Outdated advice: Craft a single resume that you can use for every position.

Many of us have heard that once you write a great resume, you can use it for every position. This isn’t true and perhaps never really was.  It’s great to have a template resume in place so you don’t have to start from scratch for every job posting, but you still want to spend at least 20 minutes tailoring your resume to every position you apply for. A Perfect Resume

A cookie-cutter resume doesn’t make each company feel that you want to work there more than anywhere else. You also want to make sure that the hiring manager can easily see how your qualifications fit the job description clearly from even a quick glance at your resume. It takes a little extra time, but sending a generic resume is sure to waste much more of your time in the long run.

Outdated advice: A bulleted list of your responsibilities in your previous jobs is the way to go on a resume.

With this logic, if you and a colleague had the same work history, then you’d have exactly the same resume. The tried-and-true bulleted list isn’t so tried and true after all. If you only speak to the duties you performed in your last role, the hiring manager has no idea if you were successful in that position.

A much better use of this space on your resume or LinkedIn profile are accomplishment statements. Replace your bullets with statements focused on your successes; an accomplishment statement is comprised of an action verb, a project or task, and an outcome, preferably with quantifiable results. Be sure to include the soft skills addressed earlier as well.

You have a limited time to make a strong first impression, so it’s important to make your application package as strong – and contemporary – as possible. However, it can be nerve-wracking to think you might have included an outmoded detail in your materials. If you want to make sure your application is up to date, consult with one of Ivy Exec’s mentors and coaches. They’ll make sure you’re presenting a comprehensive and current version of yourself.


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