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  • Writer's pictureMatt Chung

5 Myths about Job Search That's Holding You Back Now




According to a survey by CareerBuilder.com, 75% of job seekers are making at least one of these mistakes in their job search, and they are losing out on opportunities and offers because of them. In this video, I’m going to debunk these myths one by one and show you the best practices you can follow instead.

 

By the end of this post, you will learn how to avoid these pitfalls and instead, how you can stand out from the crowd and get more interviews and offers, so you can find a career you will truly love.

 

 

1. The more I apply (online) the better

 

Have you ever felt that applying for jobs online is like throwing your resume into a black hole? You spend hours browsing through hundreds of job postings, filling out endless forms, and uploading your resume over and over again, only to hear nothing back from the employers.

 

Well, you’re not alone. Many people take the approach of “spray and pray” when looking for a job. They believe that the more they click the submit button, the higher their chances of hearing back and eventually landing a job.

 

Unfortunately, this is just not the case. By going after as many job as possible, you cannot target your application by tailoring your resume to the position in question, researching the employer, networking / getting referrals, or even directly reaching out to the employer (whether it be the hiring manager or the HR) which are the activities that will yield much better results in terms of getting interviews and offers. 

 

And even if you land an interview through volume online applications, the chances of the position being something you’re genuinely keen on is quite low. This is because you wouldn't be able to spend sufficient time to get to know EVERY company’s culture and prospects. You may end up wasting your time and energy on interviews that are not a good fit for you, or worse, ending up joining a company that you will regret later.

 

Lastly, online application is the least effective method of getting noticed by employers. According to leading studies on hiring, only about 15% of available positions are filled through online applications EVEN THOUGH over 80-90% of applicants only rely on job boards. What this means is that if you only rely on job boards, you will face the most amount of competition fighting over only 15% chances of success. This is why, you’re much better off leveraging your network for help (by speaking to your friends, family and x-colleagues), directly contacting the employer on LinkedIn, and/or working with trusted recruiters.

 

So, instead of applying for every job that you see online, be selective and strategic in your job search. Focus on quality over quantity, and use multiple channels to pursue the opportunities that match your goals, values, and needs. This will not only save you time and frustration, but also increase your chances of finding a job you can truly be happy with.

 

 

2. I can use the same resume for all my applications

 

The 2nd myth which is related to the first one is that we can use the same resume for all our applications. The idea is that as long as we have a resume that covers our skills and experience we can just send it to any employer and hope for the best. Unfortunately, this is not true.

 

In today’s job market where we have more applications than ever due to online job boards (and as a result, companies having to go through more CVs than ever before), using one version of your CV for all applications no longer works.

 

Most in-house recruiters and HR managers nowadays receive hundreds of CVs every day and are unable to spend more than a few seconds on each profile (to be more specific, the average time is about 6-8 seconds before deciding whether to move on or not). Therefore, unless your CV is specifically tailored to the position, it is extremely difficult for it to be noticed or to pique the interest of the employer.

 

The good news is you do not have to rewrite the entire CV for each application. You can create a base version of your CV and then modify parts of it to fit the requirements of each position and company by emphasizing the most relevant experience to the Job description. You can also use keywords and phrases that match the job posting and the employer’s needs. 

 

This is how you can ensure that your resume is always relevant and to-the-point which will significantly increase its ability to capture the readers’ attention.

 

 

3. What I say during the interview is the most important.

 

Many people believe that what they say (the words that they speak) is the most important aspect of the interview. They think that as long as they have the right answers, they will ace the interview and get the job. But this is only partially true. Or to be more specific, it’s only about 7% true.

 

According to a well-known communication study called 7-38-55 model, only about 7% of meaning is conveyed through the words we say. The rest (over 90%) is conveyed through our tone of voice and body language. In the same way, HOW you communicate or present yourself through your non-verbal communication will have just as much or even much more impact on the outcome of the interview.

 

Examples of what to pay attention to include your level of energy, enthusiasm, facial expression, eye contact, and how genuinely you come across, and etc.. Basically, how likeable you are during the interview process.

 

One thing we have to always keep in mind is that interviewers will remember how you made them feel much more than what you said to them. There is simply no way interviewers can remember every single conversation or question that they asked and the exact response from each and every candidate. Rather, what they will remember is how they FELT about you and their impression of you during the meeting.

 

Obviously, I’m not saying that the content of your conversation doesn’t matter. Your knowledge, expertise and skills are must-haves. But unless they are communicated in a convincing manner based on your presentation and non-verbal communication, the interviewer will not likely have the confidence to pull the trigger at the end of the day.

 


4. I don’t have to contact my references beforehand

 

Another costly myth some people believe in is that they don’t have to contact their references beforehand. They think that as long as they have some names and contact information of their former colleagues or managers, they can just pass them along to potential employers and hope for the best.

 

But this is a mistake that could easily reflect poorly on yourself. Instead, you need to individually contact your previous managers or colleagues and ask them to be your references first before sending their information to any company.

 

First of all, it’s common courtesy. Most people do not like their information to be shared without their prior knowledge and may be taken aback when an unknown company reaches out to them out of the blue.

 

But more importantly, by personally reaching out and asking for a favor, you increase the likelihood of your references speaking more positively on your behalf and with more enthusiasm. You can also remind them of your achievements and contributions, and highlight the skills and qualities that are relevant to the role you’re applying for. This will help them prepare for the reference check better and give them some talking points to emphasize your strengths and suitability.

 

Also, without a prior heads-up, there is a chance your reference may not even remember you, especially if you have not worked with them for a long time or if your interactions were rather brief. This will not create a very positive or professional impression obviously, and may even raise some red flags for the employer. They may wonder why you chose someone who barely knows you as a reference, or if you have something to hide.

 

Feedback from most reference checks is extremely positive because the references are selected by the candidate. You don’t want to be the odd one out with a less than enthusiastic response. Always reach out to your contacts beforehand, and ask them for a favor and permission first.

 

 

5. I should slow down my search when I’m close to an offer

 

The last myth that I want to bust today is the idea that you should slow down your search when you’re close to an offer.

 

I often hear job seekers saying that they are going to stop interviewing or making applications because they are getting close to their first offer. But this is actually the opposite of what you should do. On the contrary, this is the time to ramp up your effort and go for another one.

 

Why? Because when you only have one offer, our tendency is to just go with it regardless of whether it is the best one or not, especially if we are in need of finding a job quickly.

 

When you do not have other options, it’s difficult to negotiate the package or to sufficiently consider other crucial factors such as the environment, culture, and expectations of the position. You may feel that you have no leverage or bargaining power, and that you have to take whatever is offered to you. You may also feel pressured or rushed to accept the offer, even if you have some doubts or concerns. Chances are you will end up settling for less than what you deserve, or what you could have gotten if you had more choices.

 

You want to aim for at least two offers or more so you can then compare your options and ensure you are choosing the best opportunity that aligns with your goals, values, and needs.

 

Not only that, having multiple offers is hands-down the most advantageous position you can be in when it comes to salary negotiation too, as employers will often go out of their way not to lose a strong candidate to competition. You’d be surprised at how flexible and accommodating they can suddenly become when they find out you’re choosing between more than one employer.

 

Again having multiple offers will give you more confidence and control over your job search and career. So, instead of slowing down your search when you’re close to an offer, pick up the pace and go for more.

 

 

 

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