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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  • Michael Bonds
    Michael Bonds
    Well I have a question about the statement to look for ways to update your skills while you are out of work. How do I update my skills without a job ?
  • Dennis Csehi
    Dennis Csehi
    Very useful and informative article.  It seems like a rut that is easy to fall into.  I know I catch myself reverting back to some of the issues you have raised.  Thanks again for the thoughtful points.Dennis Csehi
  • Mark Glasstetter
    Mark Glasstetter
    I think you are right about the myths that you write about.Simply stating you need to market yourself is not telling me how to market myself.Also a one page resume may be good for a kid but when you have had over sixty jobs in your life it is not easy to narrow stuff down and avoid the obvious questions that follow about why you have had so many jobs.
  • Debbie Holcombe
    Debbie Holcombe
    Good advice. Looking for a job today is truly one of the most difficult things I've had to do. Laid off during the financial crisis I opted to take jobs at significantly lower levels to retain my skills and industry product knowledge. At this point, I would love to start over with another industry that I know will be growing. Working on revamping my resume again! Keep trying and don't give up!
  • V. Harlow
    V. Harlow
    When the economy is so messed up, then all kinds of bull comes into play just to entertain the overly-picky hiring managers - personal branding, marketing, social networking (the best way to voluntarily give up your private information) and so on.Bring the jobs back from China and India, so all this crap would not have to matter anymore!
  • Theresa McEvoy
    Theresa McEvoy
    Where I was working they want young people and pay the minium wage. It happens almost all the compies.Almost all the places don't won't older people.
  • Catherine Steidinger
    Catherine Steidinger
    I always thought it was more helpful to go to a placement agency, seems some agencies  don't tell you their niche. Some are just advertising for less cost when looking for a category of workers,eg.-Office workers needed. Others specialize in manufacturing and production placement
  • Arendrell Cooper
    Arendrell Cooper
    There is a lot of truth to this, I'm currently looking for work and how do you tune up your skills if you don't have money to pay for training.  temporary agencies call about your availability for a job and don't answer your call to communicate about the job status.
  • Raymond Hill
    Raymond Hill
    There is nothing new here.  The author is only regurgitating information we've all heard many, many times before.  All I can say is, "no duh."
  • Nancy Ward
    Nancy Ward
    Although i agree with what you say here.I think having to apply online only & never even getting a chance to interview also can make it difficult to get work.I have been actively seeking work for the past 3 months with no success & i have done everything you say here.Even with a professionally written resume & cover still no interview.How can any one ask questions or market themselves successfully without being given the chance for an face to face interview? They now  even want to interview online!!!Also i have seen so many positions ask for degrees when a degree should not be needed.Do you really need a degree to answer a phone or to take messages or to know how to greet a visitor?And they want a bachelor degree no less.Never thought i would see the day that you had to go to school for 4 years just to be a receptionist & make if you're lucky 12 per hr.And lastly i do'nt believe that anyone should have to beg for a job,i think your experience & your ability to get the job done correctly should be important when considering who gets hired.
  • Thomas Goodhart
    Thomas Goodhart
    Excellent article. This is one of the most difficult task an individual will encounter. Rejection, emotional highs and lows and meeting monetary responsibilities. Now I have to practice what I've been preaching to my son for years,"Persistence prevails when all else fails".
  •  Marian EDson
    Marian EDson
    I have to agree the article. The sad thing is the computer doesn't understand that a skill from a different job description is just as pertinent or maybe even more so.  My first job in Technical Editing/Writing occurred because the recruiter recognized that my degree in English/Education with a minor in Biology was a great fit for technical editing in NASA's Flight Data File. In today's world, how would I make that connection happen?
  • Laurie Ramirez
    Laurie Ramirez
    This article was very helpful to me, i would probably use one out of those 5. Ive never hear anything about these questions except for maybe one of the 5 myths, over all very helpful
    This was very helpful.
  • Ray Knecht
    Ray Knecht
    The article is very good. You need to be very flexible and open to new ideas. Also, continue your knowledge and education while you are looking for work is very helpful. You need to market yourself and networking is very, very important. I found my current job from someone who worked for me 10 years ago and now I work for her.
  • Joanna Mucera
    Joanna Mucera
    What on Earth is personal branding?
  •  Joseph Guerin
    Joseph Guerin
    Until recently I was very passive when giving interviews but having my UI cut by sequestration has had me become  more on course during my talks with my potential supervisor if not human Resources.  This has greatly improved my interviews and I hope to return to work soon.
  • Timothy Swan
    Timothy Swan
    I have heard it all before. Did not work then not working now. I am what I am. Networking is contrairy to my very nature. How about some useful advise I can use.
  • Mitchell Stearns
    Mitchell Stearns
    Everything here is spot on! You will impress them by asking questions, even more by going into the interview with information you obtained from their website. If you are interviewing with a company you have never heard of, dig deep and learn about them, what do they do? How many dollars in sales did they do the previous year? Have they received any awards over the years? They will learn a lot about you during the interview, but you can blow them out of the water by learning a lot about them and presenting that information during the interview.Make sure you have a business card from each person you interview with, this is important as it is your opportunity to send them a letter or e-mail thanking them for their time and letting them know how interested you are in working for them. Do your homework, you only get one chance to make a first impression and it has to count!My first interview after I was laid off was absolutely horrible. I did my research afterwards and realized I completely blew it. I have to say that that I am thankful for that interview, as it taught me to work hard on how to handle myself and how to prepare for future interviews.The internet is a great resource. Do a search on questions to ask on the first and second interviews. Do a search on what questions they will ask you and be prepared to give an answer. Also, update your resume for the job you are applying for. Look at the job description and use those "buzz words" in your resume. Only 2% of online resumes make it to the interview stage and get hired. Make sure you are in that 2% area by using words from the skills they are seeking for the position. It used to be that resumes ended up on peoples desk, but now it's all computerized and using the buzz words in your resume will help.Be confident when going into the interview. From the time you pull into their parking area, assume that someone is watching you. Put the cell phone away and turn the ringer off!   Always dress above the requirements, if it's business casual, wear a nice shirt and tie, and dress pants.Get a black portfolio and put all your notes in it. If you ask them a question, lets say "what are the three main qualities you are looking for in the person for this position? Write down their answers and use them in a follow up e-mail or letter.Remember, looking for a new job or career is very demanding and if you want it, it's full time work. Do your homework and best wishes on a new successful career.
  • Deborah Swaitkewich
    Deborah Swaitkewich
    Everything you say is true. I have found, though, that most employers want a chronological resume. They seem to think the applicant is hiding things when they receive a functional resume.
  • Elizabeth Damian
    Elizabeth Damian
    I am not sure I understand all this information. I know I have been looking for a job, since 2010 to be exact. I am thinking that my skills are disappearing with this long wait to acquire a position.  I need help finding a job. I am interested in the Leona Group Kinder position.
  •  Zelda Hentschel
    Zelda Hentschel
    Employers are not allowing people to come in for an interview.  They want to deal with the computer. That is not fair.  Most of the companies like Costco throw away half of the applications.
  • Frankie Fairley
    Frankie Fairley
    Good helpful stuff.
  • Rich Donnellon
    Rich Donnellon
    In my field, it is frustratingbecause even for a teacher'saide position you have to fill out over 20 pages to complete an application. Sometimes that may take over 3-4 hours to finish.
  • Thomas Stell
    Thomas Stell
    my problem is not finding a job.  The problem is that all of the companies in NW PA are insistent on only giving you 25 hours a week to avoid having to provide benefits or paying the obamacare fines.  I frequently have trouble with both of my employers wanting me to work at the same time. I also don't understand why I have to pay a fine for not having benefits. There will be no exchanges in PA according to Tom Corbett
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