5 Myths That Hurt a Job Search

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Finding a job in today's job market is tougher than ever – it takes a lot of dedication, determination and good luck. It's not easy to market your skills, to send in resume after resume, knowing that you will probably only hear back from about 1% of the companies and through it all, you have to network, keep your skills sharp and struggle to pay the bills. It's probably one of the more difficult things you will ever have to face.


Despite everything, there is still another challenge that today's job seeker faces – knowing yourself. You have to be able to recognize the lies that you tell yourself and really examine the myths that you believe to be true to overcome them and reach the next level in your career. Some of the things you will have to do will feel uncomfortable at first, but with practice, it gets easier.


Here are 5 myths aren't true and that can really hurt a job search:

  1. Job seekers do not need to market themselves – I am always surprised by the number of people who are looking for work, yet are stubbornly resistant to the idea of marketing themselves. There seems to be this idea that personal branding and marketing are things that people do to reach the next level of their very professional career, not just to find a mid-level job. While its true that marketing is done by very professional, white collar executives, it's just as helpful to job seekers who are looking for an entry-level, low-skill job. No matter what type of position you are looking for, personal branding and effective marketing tools show that you are looking for a career, not just another job. It impresses hiring managers and will help you land the job you want (even if you do not want a career).
  2. Networking is for executives and high level employees – Networking is another thing that many job seekers believe is only for other people, like executives. Spending time with other professional people, printing up some contact cards and meeting new people can be intimidating, but it's the best way to find out about other job openings and it's a well respected way of getting your foot in the door. Even if you are looking for a part-time job, networking can put you in the path of business owners and other people who could be in a position to help.
  3. Asking questions during an interview makes you appear too picky – During an interview, you should always, always ask questions. Before going to the interview, you should spend some time researching the company and getting an understanding of who they are, what they do and where they are heading. Even if you are applying for a job as the night janitor, knowing this information is a great way to really impress the interviewer. Ask questions about the corporate culture, about what the interviewer likes about the company and what happened to the person who had the job last. These types of questions show that you are interested in that particular job and that you are interviewing the company as well.
  4. My skills do not need to be updated – This is one that I've heard many, many times. People who have been out of work for more than 3 months, but less than a year, are the ones who are the most likely to believe that their skills do not need to be updated. Depending on the industry, this probably isn't true. Even if it is, there are so many applicants for every open position, any job seeker is going to be competing against people that are hungrier, younger, more desperate for the job and who either still have a job or who have been out of work for less time. A hiring manger is going to prefer someone who is more current, so look for ways to update your skills while you are out of work.
  5. This is the way I was taught and the way I've always done it. I do not need to change – Out of all these myths, this one is probably the most harmful. I've heard people who have been in the workforce for 20 years or more say this and it never fails to surprise me. The fact is that the way that jobs are found today is completely different from how it was even just a decade ago. Now, it's all about social media presence, marketing, functional resumes and networking. A neatly typed, two page resume that chronologically lists every job you've ever had, complete with an objective statement and a list of references screams, “Hopelessly out-of-date”. I've even talked with people who argued with the career counselor they hired about these issues and actively resisted change, claiming that the career adviser was in the wrong.


Change is scary and it can be very difficult to spot the areas where you could use some work. I think we all have blinders on when it comes to objectively spotting our own weaknesses. If any of these myths sound familiar to you, they might be areas where you could stand some improvement.


What do you think about these 5 myths? Have you heard yourself or anyone you know say them? Please share your thoughts in the comments.


Image source: MorgueFile


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  • Manuel Vidal
    Manuel Vidal
    Why then, do most of the recruiters that I've sent a resume to always ask for the months to years in time that you spent at a job.  Why is it so damning that a gap is created all because I am looking for work?
  • EulaGreen
    The information provided is helpful.  I will continue to keep the information in mind as I continue my search for employment.  Thanks for the information.
    One of the things that makes it difficult to secure an interview with a potential employer is sort of a catch 22.  In order to bid on jobs an employer is required by the customer to submit evidence of how many College Educated Engineers that they have on their payroll.  Engineers in Training, Interns, and newly graduated engineers command less pay.  Therefore employers prefer to have a minimum of seasoned engineers on their payroll and many young engineers that will keep up the count that they present to the customer.  Junior engineers don't count.  Typically they have some college, but no BS degree and are now-a-days known as designers, or engineering technicians.  They also usually have years of experience and plenty of savvy when it comes to working with drawings from different disciplines as well as the ability to create drawings of all the types required in their own discipline.  Hardly a liability, but they don't count when an employer is trying to get new work.  
    Even at my age I fully agree that changes need to be made to compete with the job market of today. I fall in these categories and will use this information for my own personal gain in today's market place. Thank you.
  • Kenneth Grimes
    Kenneth Grimes
    Thanks for the advice for my future interviews
  • Kara Santa
    Kara Santa
    Sending all of you on here (frustrated job seekers especially) some positive healing energy!  I'm in the boat with you and navigating these waters.  Feels like it's constant bad weather, with little break between the high waves!  Peace and Love :)
  • beCharles Martin
    beCharles Martin
    I find myself in agreement. You MUST market yourself, this is a no-brainer. Networking is important. But I do a lot of international work, and networking is next to impossibleOf course, you should ask questions in the interview. I always research the company, just to get the basics. You will not get an intimate knowledge of a firm over the internet.Skills, skills, skills. Push your skills, improve your skills, update your skills. In my field (telecommunications) nothing stands still.We live in  a world in which the only constant is change. Adapt or die.
  • Mike Kohli
    Mike Kohli
    I think info listed above is good, to me getting a job resume is a fraction of what you need to do,it all happens in a interview process. You have to show that you are a team player, you can build a team where everybody rows in one direction, you can finish projects on time,you get along with people, you have intigrety,diligence and you motivate people by example. Always have sparkle in your eyes about the position as all companies are looking for good people. good Luck
    Boy, as an almost 60 yr. old male Nurse I really needed to hear this. Makes so much sense. Thank you so much!!!
  • Elliot Sachs
    Elliot Sachs
    Very informative.
  •  Calvin Beals
    Calvin Beals
    Always looking to improve
  • Darryl Malcolm
    Darryl Malcolm
    Funny, when I was in the corporate world as a hiring manager, I valued 'experienced' people and was very successful because of them.  Now, the 'experienced' person seeking a job is viewed as old school and completely ignored.  The main problem is that the resume/application scanning software automatically excludes 'older' professionals or you are excluded by narrow minded HR/hiring personnel who do not know that you can get some gleaming diamonds from what they consider the 'rough'.  Yes, a true waste of an entire generation of great workers.  But these same companies will scam the government and hire scads of lower paid H1B visa candidates.
  • Patricia Bashans, R.N.
    Patricia Bashans, R.N.
    as an older worker find age discrimination there all the time. If you do get an  interview you get replies of we hired someone with more experience. Well what is 20+yrs.? It is just the fact that they can hire someone with less experience cheaper, hire only for part time, no benefits. You get very disheartened, Yes agree being put out to pasture. Very hard to make ends meet. I agree with other comments. You get calls stating from HR stating they have sent your resume to the managers and you should hear from them for an interview but that day never comes. I do believe that when they see you age your resume goes to file 13!
  • Linden Killam
    Linden Killam
    What is "personal branding" and "effective marketing" in searching for a job? That's meaningless to me and bordering on corporate speak.
  • April Allen
    April Allen
    Re: osted by: Brenda Richard On: 9/20/2013 6:40 PM"I never thought about most of what was written. I was out of work for four years. I got a job last July, and then the job closed the store that I worked at in January. I have been out of work since January of 2013. I do want to go back to school and get a degree in Psychology, but even with a degree, it seems like several people are having a hard time. I do notice, jobs for receptionist or admin assts. want a college degree nowadays. I guess I could market myself more, it doesn't hurt."Hi Brenda,going back to school is an excellent idea no matter the age. I would just like to give you a little head's up about Psychology. A Bachelor's in that field will not help you much unless you choose to pursue graduate level work. If you are getting a degree because you think it will help you (AND IT WILL) consider other options. I don't know your goals, etc. but I am 37 and just going into graduate school for a Masters in English with a B.S. in Psychology.  Just follow you heart and your dreams!!
  • Shelena Williams
    Shelena Williams
    I wholeheartedly agree with Audrey Parks!
  • Annette Walker
    Annette Walker
    I really liked the pointers that this site provided to me while I am searching for a job.  Thank you for the advice.
  • Mark Peters
    Mark Peters
    Yes some / most of it sound real! I have been beating myself up wondering what the H+@l is the problem, why cant I find work? To old? Over Qualified? What is that all about? Resume rabbit even made a resume for me! Too much info? Not enough info. Been out of work to long? Throw the towel in!! Mark
  • JuanCapeles
    well the only comment i have is that i've been looking for a job for over 9 month and nothing not even a call. ok i know the catch is this im a felon cause i made a mistake in my life and i had to pay for which i did and it looks like im going to pay for it the rest of my like. But what employers dont know and wont give me the chance to show them is that im also a great person and a hard working man.so all i have to say is i could use this 5 steps all i want but it wont do me any good.thank you have a blessed life
  • Tina Butler
    Tina Butler
    The 5 myths are true . We all need to update ourselves to stay current in the workforce !!!!!!
  • Daniel Castro
    Daniel Castro
    As a small struggling business owner I am sadly struggling on even getting a part time job. I'm on the edge of moving out of town to where there are more jobs (w/ a chance at a higher level of living costs). Even with 13 years of work experience I'm still young, unmarried and childless....& maybe possibly decent on the pay scale......I thought being in this category would help me find a job....looks like I was wrong. The 5th myth should give a little more clarity on what they mean on updating the resume. If anyone who is struggling now it will get much worse. I'd start buying fractional silver every week if I were you. Trade something of value you have at a pawn store for a troy ounce of scrap silver. You'd be glad that you did.
  • LizSutton
    I really related to each of these myths.  Especially the technology up date, so I quit wasting time and hired a tutor for the computer.  Yeah.  he is going to help me up date my social media, email usage, and be able to move between my website and fb and I know that I will succeed!
  •  Phillip Comeaux
    Phillip Comeaux
    In paragraph 5 what else would you recommend using in a reume other than what is listed? I think that the 5 myths are dead on . Is there any way that I can found out how to improve my resume?
  • Kellly Keeling
    Kellly Keeling
    How can I learn to market myself? Do you have resources that can show me how to do this. Also, what can I be doing to find ways to update my skills? I just feel lost. Everyone gives vague advice I want something more substantial.
  • Scott Lowe
    Scott Lowe
    Are you serious about the résumé  I have had 2 different term positions. Short term. And 2 10 year jobs different industry. I have to have that there. How else would they know I worked longer than 6 months
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