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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  •  Cherrlynn Murray
    Cherrlynn Murray
    Myth 5:The comments about the "resume'" applied directly to me. How can I find information about how to prepare a modern resume'? (58 yr. old displaced employee).
  • Logan Smith
    Logan Smith
    I have been seeking employment as an employee and contractor for over a year. I am guilty of all of these paradigm myths.  I had only two job interviews in thirty years, and was hesitant to accept the wide changes that had occurred in the job markets. Listen to the advice provided; it will help.
  • Catherine Dooher
    Catherine Dooher
    The article is fine. I find the job search process to be endless.What passes for quality in many local businesses is a joke. The U.S. once had game in terms of checks and balances . Que pasa ? The skill set of the reps in a call center where I am employed are very poor. It is never acceptable to be rude to anyone primarily the customer. There is a complete lack of aptitude in speech , spelling and the easiest of math equations. A lot of people playing the blame game and not providing solutions for one another or most importantly the customer !  
  • David R Silva
    David R Silva
    Great article.You are completely right!Thanks for sharing.Great weekend to all.
  • Donna Williams
    Donna Williams
    Myth 6: It's a money-grubbing dog-eat-dog world. You must become viciously competitive to win.  The truth is that there is a ton of work that needs to be done and a boatload of people willing to do it. What's preventing us from connecting these two realities? This money-grubbing back-stabbing mentality perhaps? The comments people are sharing here are much more in touch with reality than the article. We are throwing a treasure trove of people's valuable skills on the trash heap. What a waste! Let's change that.
  • Audrey Parker
    Audrey Parker
    The Cold Hard Truth - "It's not WHAT you know, it's WHO you know"!  I see it every day.  And if you're over 45, find a rocking chair and knitting needle because you've been "put out to pasture".  The rejection letters are always the same - "Interviewed well.  Chosen another candidate with more suitable qualifications.  blah blah blah".I've applied for jobs with the same agency doing the exact same job I did before I moved on to another job, only to be given the same rejection BS.  It's all a political game and we're the pawns on the chessboard of job seekers.  Good luck to all who are in the same boat as I am. I say let the Washington fat cats try living on $10/hour with gas and food prices rising each day.
  • Judy Williams
    Judy Williams
    I see here several mentions of age discrimination, which I have encountered.  Experience means nothing, when the employer can hire someone younger, for less money, and less apt to chronic health problems.  What I really need is a personal trainer and a face lift.
  • Kenneth Marinelli
    Kenneth Marinelli
    This is helpful to some people.  Everyone, even truckers need to network.  It's the best way to find out who is hiring, and what companies are good to work for.  As for skills, that really depends on the job.  As a licensed Hazmat driver, I am on top of the heap.
  • Lydia Cabansay
    Lydia Cabansay
    Thank you ... It is so informative !
  • francine brown
    francine brown
    I think you were very right and more info be good. I like how you think . Thank You
  • joyce zawodny
    joyce zawodny
    I have had a very consistent career but after being laid off from a position I did very well, I am convinced that it was because of age. I am an extremely young 62, current in my field yet when I apply online and will not fill in my age on the employer's application (which is illegal) I cannot advance to the next screen. I have excellent skill sets and am interested in a full time job; I'm not the "retiring" kind of person, present well, and my resume has all the current bells and whistles. Employers are discriminating and the EEO should investigate this practice.  Shame on these employers as they are knowingly discriminating without even meeting some very talented people who are accomplished employees who are real assets.    
  • Bert Walker
    Bert Walker
    I think this article is a crock.
  • Steve Logan
    Steve Logan
    So many contradictions here. You think these 'advisors' know anything or just make a living 'advising'? Where's the proof?
  • Jim Havery
    Jim Havery
    WOW! Talk about mailing it in a collecting a paycheck.  These aren't 'myths', they're just made up statements.  Maybe it's time for the Editorial Staff to update its skills.
  • michelle holden
    michelle holden
    I just got my masters degree in strategic leadership/organizational design but have not worked for 15 years raising my 4 children...best advice for getting current experience?
    i have heard of networking and marketing ,but i dont know where to start. i was layed off 3 years ago after working 30 years at the same hospital. i still have not been hired yet anywhere. im on line every day. i think it is my age. im 58.
  • Lauren Sargent
    Lauren Sargent
    The article is very well informative, but I am very disappointed about it because it tells me stuff I already know. When I read this article, I was hoping that it will tell me something that I do not know already. After all, I have been looking for a good job for a long time and I have no luck so far. So When I come across this article, I thought that it will state at least one myth in which I became entrapped. Apparently, not!
  •  Janice K. Neal-Vicnent
    Janice K. Neal-Vicnent
    I love this.  The job market is indeed tight.  The greater the creativity, ingenuity, determination, productivity, the better the chances for landing the ideal job.
  • Walter Sutton
    Walter Sutton
    Spot on!
  • Brenda Richard
    Brenda Richard
    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. I have a friend who has been out of work longer than me, and they have way more office skills and abilities than me. These are the times that try men's souls. I think I will always be behind. Technology is growing faster and faster and it is hard to keep up. Every job I get does not teach me new computer skills. I received a certificate in computerized accounting several years ago, but I did not get to use it in my jobs. If you don't use it, you lose it. Anyway, I am just venting. I hope everyone that has posted something will get a job soon, and will get something they will enjoy.
  • Gina Stadler
    Gina Stadler
    These are good points.  I have found my last two jobs by applying simple principles: Networking, being resouceful, staying busy and updating your skills.  Even filling in a resume with volunteer work is respected.  Taking classes to update basic computer skills at the library or local enployment service office will help build your confidence.
  • Beatriz Haloutsos
    Beatriz Haloutsos
    I agree with all the points. I have been taking accounting classes for a while, but have not found the job I am looking for. The one point I would like more information is, how do you brand yourself? Any articles on this?
  • Carrie Ziek
    Carrie Ziek
    How about some actual tips that we job seekers don't know already, such as how to get passed the gate of recruiters jealously guarding their clients jobs; overcoming the dreaded "spam" of job sites (I've learned that some listed "jobs" are just there to collect your information) that lead you to nowhere; or getting your foot physically inside the door of a company without having to jump through either of those useless flaming hoops (hard when companies are constantly listed as confidential), etc. The digital age has put up more barriers to job seekers than ever before! — Sadly, even today, the old adage of "it's not what you know, it's WHO you know" still remains true. Hence, the importance of (and I really am starting to hate the term!) "networking". — As far as "marketing yourself" and "personal branding"... why not give some concrete examples that aren't totally useless to those of us over 45. Setting up 5 social media accounts does nothing for me but waste my time.
  • Peggy Seufert
    Peggy Seufert
    Thanks for the 5 points. I'm going to visit the state employment office to take some online courses for free!After months looking without success, I was told that people aren't hiring 50+. I didn't believe then, but now I do!
  • Emmanuel ike
    Emmanuel ike
    that was great info
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