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September 01, 2014

Debunking Common Job Search Myths

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Debunking Common Job Search Myths

Perry Newman CPC/CSMS, Executive Resume Writer and Career Transition Coach.

I have been involved in the Career Services field in various capacities for the past 3 decades and I can tell you that there are a great many myths out there that are just that - myths - an idea that is believed by many people but that is not true.

Here are four I find egregious and why.

1: Age discrimination is rampant and is the main reason most people over 45 can't get an interview or a job.

Personally I think this is a crutch for many 45+ y/o job seekers to commiserate, stop trying and accept defeat rather than change. We know the dynamics of the work world are ever changing, but are older job seekers changing with the times. In many cases they have not and therefore are not being selected; not based on age but based on a lack of adaptability.

They think and work exactly like they have in the past and many live on past glories when what they should be doing is whatever it takes to keep up with the times in their profession. At every age you need to keep up with new technologies, new means of communication, and new and more efficient ways of doing what you did in the past. You need to keep an open mind for strategic changes in your profession's methods of operation and the subtle and not so subtle changes in the culture of your workplace and the workplaces to which you are applying.

2: If my resume got me interviews and job offers in the past all I need to do is update it now.

Resume writing is an evolving art in this millennium and what worked in the past is not getting the same results as it used to. Therefore just updating your resume will not work. In the past resumes followed a set format and were more fact oriented. Resume writing has followed a similar path to the auto industry which discovered the value of hybrids over the past decade. Unless the resume you are updating was well written and designed in the last 2-3 years, and the job you're seeking is similar to the one you have or you just left, a simple update is going to set you back a lot more than the time, effort or cost it will take to totally revamp it.

3: A resume can be One-Size-Fits-All even for different jobs because l customize a cover letter for every submission

I cannot believe how often I hear this inverted logic from seemingly intelligent people. Research shows that over 95% of all resumes submitted are read but less than 65% of cover letters are read along with them, and the percentage of times the cover letter is forwarded upstream along with the resume decreases exponentially with each new person who receives it. So by the time it gets to the ultimate decision maker the odds are 25% or less that he or she will ever read your cover letter and they will be judging you strictly on what they read in your resume. Cover letters have a purpose but customizing it for a job search is not its main one.

4: The most qualified candidate always gets the job

This myth is built around a truism. Most people equate the most qualified man or woman as the one who has the best combination of skills and experience. In theory this is true, however if the person's personality is not a culture match they drop off the list and the next most qualified candidate moves up the ladder. As I've said many times before, "Companies will make interview decisions based on who has the best resume but job offers are made to the person who is the best cultural fit." So do your homework and due diligence as thoroughly as possible on the company and the people you'll be meeting before you walk through the door for an interview. This way you'll know how to dress, act and what to say to fit in.

Perry Newman CPC/CSMS is a nationally-recognized career services professional; an executive resume writer and career transition coach, certified social media strategist, AIPC certified recruiter and charter member of the Career Rocketeer team. To learn more about Perry, visit his website.

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