Job Search Myths You Shouldn’t Believe

Unfortunately, there are plenty of myths and antiquated ideas about job searching that job seekers acknowledge as hard fast rules. We have chosen to highlight a few of these myths that we find particularly irksome below:

  1. Your resume should only be one page.
    • The one-page resume rule seems to have been around forever, but reducing your work history to one page can be a critical mistake for job seekers.
    • Hiring managers would much rather see your entire work history laid out on three pages worth of resume than have you exclude relevant work experience in order to fit everything on one page.
  2. Your college major will determine your entire career.
    • While there are certain career paths that require particular majors, such as engineering or mathematics, your college major does not have to dictate your entire career.
    • When choosing the perfect applicant for a job, hiring managers consider a whole lot more than what your major was in college. Relevant experience, applicable skills, and personality are all additional factors in a hiring manager’s decision.
  3. You should apply for every single job posting that you are interested in.
    •  If you are not fully qualified for a job posting you see, don’t waste your time applying for it. Job postings typically list qualities or experiences that applicants must have, but a lot of job seekers seem to ignore them. Being interested in a job and believing you can do it does not make you a qualified applicant.
    • Wasting your time applying for jobs you will never get is a big mistake for job seekers. Focus your attention and effort on jobs that you feel you are honestly qualified for and believe you can get. This will eventually lead to a much more successful job search in the end.
  4. You need to have an objective or mission statement on your resume.
    • Listing a specific objective statement on your resume can lead hiring managers to believe you are only looking for one particular kind of job and won’t consider you for other opportunities.
    • On the other hand, having a broad, generic objective statement on your resume is basically useless. Objective statements serve no real purpose and are therefore unnecessary to include on your resume.
    • Instead of an objective statement, use your cover letter to let hiring managers know what you are looking for and why you feel qualified.
  5. Companies and hiring managers will never be able to see my social media profiles.
    • Many professionals believe that their social media pages are hidden from the eyes of hiring managers. They change their names on Facebook or change their privacy settings assuming that no potential employer will ever be able to see their pictures and posts.
    • The truth is, it’s not that hard for a potential employer to see some, if not all, of your pictures and posts on social media.
    • Changing your name on Facebook to a combination of your first and middle name or even replacing it with a completely made-up name will not deter an employer who wants to find your profile. If the email address that you use to sign onto Facebook is the same email that you put on your resume, all employers have to do is search that email address on Facebook instead of your name. The profile linked with your email address will come up no matter what you’ve changed the name on your profile to.
    • Also, with constantly changing privacy settings on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, it’s easy for old photos or posts to suddenly become visible again if you haven’t taken the time to update all of your privacy settings.

Being Punctual

Punctuality is a critical quality for any professional to have. While this may seem obvious, a lot of professionals struggle with being on time in this busy modern world. Even unemployed job seekers need to be aware of time frames and deadlines when interviewing for and applying to jobs. For now, we will focus on the importance of being on time for a job interview and provide some rules to help make sure you are always punctual in the future.

Rule #1: Don’t be late.

  • If you realize ahead of time that you are running late for an interview, call your interviewer immediately and let them know your situation. Be sure to apologize for the inconvenience.
  • In a tough job market, hiring managers have their pick when it comes to capable candidates. Even showing up five minutes late for a job interview could disqualify you for a position.
  • If a hiring manager can’t trust you to show up on time for an interview, they have no reason to trust that you will be on time for work or meet project deadlines.

Rule #2: Being too early is the same as being late.

  • Do not show up more than fifteen minutes early for a job interview unless you were otherwise instructed.
  • Showing up too early for an interview can make you appear desperate to hiring managers. Think of a job interview as a first date, you wouldn’t want your date to think you were overeager or desperate either.
  • The same as if you were late for an interview, a hiring manager will attribute you showing up a half hour early to your bad time management skills.

Rule #3: Know where you’re going ahead of time.

  • If you have time and are unfamiliar with the area, visit the company’s office prior to your interview so that you know exactly where you’re going and how long it will take you to get there.
  • If you don’t have time to physically scope out your route, use the Internet to plan it in advance.
  • If you are driving to your interview, make sure you know where you are going to park. You don’t want to be late because it took twenty minutes to find a parking space.

Rule #4: Show up early, but don’t go in.

  • The best advice we can give you is to intentionally allow yourself extra time to get to your interview. This will give you some wiggle room in case you run into unforeseen trouble such as traffic or delays on public transportation. Even if you don’t hit any delays and end up outside of the office twenty minutes early, don’t go in! Find somewhere nearby you can kill time prior to your interview such as a coffee shop or deli. Use the extra time to review your notes one last time.

The Most Important Part of Your Resume

What is a resume? A document that showcases you as a professional and demonstrates to potential employers why you are the perfect fit for their open opportunity. The main purpose of your resume is to show why you are qualified for certain positions, but a lot of job seekers tend to forget this fact when applying to jobs. Don’t lose focus by spending too much time worrying about trivial aspects such as the length of your resume, the formatting, or the objective statement. The most important part of your resume is your work experience and how that experience applies to the jobs you are applying for.

When applying to individual job postings, you should tailor your resume for every, single one! You need to thoroughly review job postings to comprehend exactly what experience and qualifications a potential employer is looking for, and then ensure that you meet those requirements. If you do have the required experience, make sure your resume clearly shows that!

For example, if an employer is looking for someone with strong Excel skills, they want to see that you have used Excel in prior positions. Instead of just listing “Excel” under the Technical Skills section on your resume, clearly state how and where you used Excel throughout your work experience. A potential employer should be able to see exactly where you used Excel and how you used it without having to call you and ask about it.

Showing your demonstrated experience is especially important if you are looking to transition into a new career or a higher level role. For example, if you are a teacher applying to be an administrative assistant, you need to demonstrate how your work experience as a teacher qualifies you for a role as an admin. Or if you are a junior associate applying for a senior position, show how your role has prepared you to move up to the next level.

While details such as the formatting and wording of your resume are still very important, showing your demonstrated work experience is the major priority for your resume. Always remember to tailor your work experience for each and every job posting to ensure a maximum return on investment of your time!

8 Ways to Fast-Track Your Job Search

If you feel like your job search has been dragging, we’ve provided eight easy ways to speed things up and improve your chances of landing that ever-elusive job offer!

  1. Focus on applying to particular job opportunities or companies
    • Rather than blindly sending your resume to every job posting you see, focus on applying to specific opportunities and/or companies.
  2. Only apply to relevant opportunities
    • Don’t waste time applying to jobs you don’t really want or aren’t fully qualified for. That is time you could spend perfecting your applications for more suitable opportunities.
  3. Conduct in-depth research on potential employers
    • Before going to an interview, make sure to thoroughly research the company’s history, mission statement, culture, and more to ensure you are fully informed.
  4. Present yourself well
    • This includes sending out a well-proofed resume, dressing professionally for job interviews, and maintaining a professional reputation online.
  5. Network, network, network
    • Building a strong professional network takes a lot of time and effort, but networking is a great resource for job seekers who are having trouble finding work on their own.
  6. Demonstrate genuine interest
    • You should demonstrate your interest in a potential position in every interaction you have with the hiring manager or recruiter.
  7. Don’t forget to follow up
    • Always follow up after a job interview or after sending a job application for a position you’re passionate about. This is another great way of showing your interest in the opportunity.
  8. Maintain a positive attitude
    • Keeping a positive attitude is critically important for a successful job search. Don’t lose hope of finding your dream job, no matter how bleak things may seem.

When to Consider Temporary Work

While a full-time, permanent position is the ideal for most professionals in the workforce, temporary positions can be a great option for many people who find themselves looking for additional income and/or experience while pursuing that permanent job. Below, we have listed several situations where temporary work could be beneficial to your search for a permanent position. Although, our list is definitely not comprehensive; temporary work can be a great option for just about anyone.

  • Recent Graduates: Temping is a great option for recent graduates who do not have a permanent position lined up upon graduation.
    • Temp work can help give college graduates more real world, professional experience to add to their resume, especially if they did not complete any internships or work study programs while in school.
    • Also, temping can help fill in the employment gap on your resume between graduation and starting your first permanent position. Potential employers will be impressed to see that you have been working and gaining experience while pursuing more full-time work.
    • Temp work can help get your foot in the door with a company that you would not otherwise have access to. If the company you are temping for is pleased with your work, they could consider you for any full-time openings they have.
  • Professionals In Between Employment: Temping is also a great option for more experienced professionals who find themselves in between permanent positions.
    • As for recent graduates, temp work can help fill in employment gaps on your resume.  Even if the temp work you are doing isn’t exactly relevant to your career goals, at least you can show a potential employer that you have not been sitting idle while searching for a new position.
    • Temporary work is also a great source of income for those in between jobs. While you probably won’t make as much as you were in your last permanent position, a little money is better than no money.
    • Temp jobs can also help expose you to new industries or environments that you might not have had the opportunity to explore otherwise. You might find a new interest or change your career goals after having a great experience temping within a different industry.
  • Not Quite Yet Retirees: Temp work is an excellent option for professionals who have decided to end their full-time careers, but aren’t quite ready to stop working altogether.
    • A lot of experienced professionals who have decided to retire from their full-time jobs are still looking for part time work to bring in a little additional income or help fill their suddenly empty schedules.
    • Temp work is a great option for these not quite retired professionals, because they can do short term or daily assignments, without making a long-term commitment.
    • Professionals with a full career under their wings have years of experience to offer staffing agencies. They are typically viewed as reliable, hardworking temps with valuable years of experience.
  • Re-Entry Professionals: Professionals who are reentering the workforce after taking some significant time off from their careers should definitely consider temp work as a way to get reacquainted with the office environment.
    • Coming back into the job market after a long break in your career can make it hard for you to start right back where you left off. Temp work can help you get your foot in the door with a major organization, and prove to them that you are ready to restart your career.
    • Temp work can also help you readjust to the nine-to-five work schedule and help you redevelop your daily routine.
    • Picking up some temporary assignments can allow re-entry professionals ease back into the workforce instead of charging in at full speed.

The aforementioned groups of professionals all make valuable candidates for temporary work and should consider picking up temp assignments if they are in the job market. Although just about anyone who finds themselves out of work should definitely consider temping. The only reason we would deter a candidate from considering temporary work is if they already have a steady, permanent job with a stable salary.

Using Humor in the Workplace

Most people appreciate a good sense of humor, but in the workplace it is especially important that you use humor appropriately so as not to offend or isolate anyone. We have listed some basic rules regarding using humor in the office below:

  1. Use humor to make people feel comfortable, not awkward.
    • Using humor can be an easy way to connect with someone and break the ice, but when used incorrectly, humor is also an easy way to make someone feel uncomfortable.
  2. Avoid being sarcastic.
    • Sarcasm can easily be misconstrued or misunderstood, so it’s best to avoid using sarcasm in the workplace.
  3. Don’t tell jokes related to sex, gender, race, ethnicity, or other discriminatory cues.
    • Even the most well meaning joke could seriously offend a coworker, and it could even result in you losing your job.
  4. Don’t laugh AT people, laugh WITH them.
    • Don’t use humor to isolate people, use it to make them feel included.
  5. Avoid practical jokes and other gags.
    • Practical jokes could easily anger or upset a colleague or supervisor.
  6. Don’t try too hard to be funny.
    • Don’t force humor into a humorless situation. Humor in the workplace should always be natural, not forced.

As a final rule, if you aren’t sure whether or not it would be appropriate to use humor in any given situation, you should definitely avoid it. Using humor in the workplace is definitely a sensitive activity, so use it wisely!

How to Stay Fit at the Office

Sitting at a desk behind a computer for eight or more hours a day can be hard on your body. Learn how to stay active and keep fit while maintaining your office job by following our tips below:

  1. Take a walk
    • Use your lunch break or coffee break to go for a stroll around the block. The fresh air and exercise will do your body good.
  2. Use the stairs
    • So what if your office is on the 10th floor? Taking the stairs instead of using the elevator can help you burn extra calories every day.
  3. Sit on an exercise ball
    • Sitting on an exercise ball will engage your core muscles and also help to straighten your posture.
  4. Stretch regularly
    • Set an alarm as a reminder to stretch at regular intervals throughout the day. Stretching is a great way to loosen your muscles and help with blood flow.
  5. Sit up straight
    • Maintaining good posture is an easy way to relieve back pain and keep your core muscles engaged throughout the day.

Networking

When you are unemployed, it’s important to take advantage of every resource you have in order to find a job. While you are submitting your resume to every job posting you feel qualified for, you should also pursue some less traditional means. For example, networking is a great way to learn about new job opportunities and get your name in with the right people.

You should discuss your career goals with your friends and even your former colleagues. Your friends are great networking tools, especially if they work in a similar industry. They might know of companies in your industry that are hiring, or have connections to such companies. If your friend is employed and satisfied with their current career, they might not pay attention to job openings they hear about. That’s why it’s important for you to let them know you are in the market for work, so they can keep an ear out for you. Also, if any of your former coworkers left to work at a new company, than that company is a great place to look into. They are clearly hiring candidates with a similar background and experience to your background, and your former coworker could provide a reference on your behalf to the hiring supervisor.

Linked In is another useful networking resource. You can use the professional networking website to connect with hiring managers, former colleagues and the like. Also, you can ask your former supervisors or colleagues to provide recommendations for you to post on your profile. These recommendations are a great resource to bring to job interviews. They also boost your chances of getting an interview if a hiring manager looks you up on Linked In after reviewing your submitted resume. Companies will post job openings on their Linked In page, so it’s a good idea to connect with companies you are interested in working for as well.

Do not leave any resource untapped when searching for new employment. Help could come from anywhere, and you don’t want to miss out on a great opportunity.

What to Consider Before Accepting a Job Offer

Say you have been in the job market for a while. You’ve been spending all your free time applying for open positions, polishing your resume, and going on job interviews. Now, you have finally received that coveted job offer after several rounds of interviews with an organization. After all the hard work you have put into getting that offer, you’re ready to accept it and finally end your job hunt. While a lot of job seekers today are anxious to accept the first job offer they receive, it’s important to consider certain aspects of the position before making a commitment. You don’t want to end up wasting your time on a position that isn’t a great fit, nor do you want to waste any more of the company’s time. To help you make sure you are making the right decision when accepting a job offer, we’ve provided a few key factors to consider before saying yes.

  1. Make sure you fully understand the scope of the position: Now that you have presented yourself as a capable candidate in job interviews, make sure you are honestly capable of handling the day-to-day responsibilities of the position. Also, make sure those responsibilities are something you will enjoy doing day in and day out.
  2. Will the position provide an opportunity to grow? Make sure that the position and the organization provide opportunities to grow as a professional and help to build your career. Don’t accept a position that will turn into a dead end job with no upward mobility. Find out if the company is known for internal hiring to fill open positions or if they have a tendency to hire externally.
  3. Check out the work environment: While you are interviewing with a company, take advantage of the opportunity to peek inside the corporate culture. Make sure the social and professional environment of the office seems like some place you would be comfortable working in. Also, it doesn’t hurt to ask questions regarding company culture while you are interviewing.
  4. Test out the commute: When you go to the office for interviews, you might not be traveling there during rush hour. Test out the commute both in the morning and evening rush hour to make sure it is doable and bearable for you to make each day. If you have to deal with a long commute in traffic or deal with the hold-ups of public transportation, you need to consider those factors in your decision making process.
  5. Are the salary and benefits reasonable for your lifestyle? A lot of job seekers that have been in the job market for a long time say that any money is better than no money, and are willing to take a major pay cut just to get back in the office. It’s important to consider if the salary offered to you will actually be able to cover your cost of living. Also, make sure the benefits package is able to provide for you and any dependents in your life. This includes the amount of sick, holiday and vacation days you will be allotted in your new position.

Before making a commitment to a company by accepting their offer, make sure that commitment is something you will be willing to stand by for some time. If you accept a position that will only make you miserable, you probably won’t end up working there for long, and you’ll find yourself right back in the job market where you started.

Tips for Metro Riders

If you are one of those lucky Washingtonians who doesn’t have to battle through traffic on the Beltway every morning to commute to work, you most likely take the metro! Learn how to make your metro commute easier, safer, and all around more enjoyable by following the tips below:

  1. Buy a SmartTrip Card: Not only will these cards get you through the turnstiles a little more quickly; they also save you up to a dollar or more on every trip!
  2. Wear comfortable shoes: Commuting via metro typically means that you will have to do a bit of walking to get to and from the station, so wear comfortable shoes and bring your work shoes in a separate bag if necessary.
  3. Hold onto your bags at all times: Holding onto your bags will not only protect you from theft, but it’s also considerate for other passengers to keep your bags off the floor and seats.
  4. Keep your fare card handy: While you want to keep your fare or SmartTrip card somewhere safe, you also want to have it easily accessible so that you don’t have to hunt through your entire purse or wallet to find it when exiting the metro.
  5. Stand right, walk left: This rule of thumb applies to riding the escalators. If you are standing, stand to the right, this leaves the left side open for walking passengers to pass by you unobstructed.
  6. Report any suspicious behavior or unattended bags: Metro police request that passengers report any suspicious behavior or unattended bags they notice to a uniformed metro worker or police officer. This action will help keep you and other riders safe while on the metro.
  7. Plan your trips ahead of time: If you are a daily commuter, you probably know what time your train arrives every morning, but it’s always a good idea to check for any metro delays or alerts before you leave the house to avoid any interruptions to your routine.