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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  • Randall Thornton
    Randall Thornton
    I agree 100% with what this article has to say. The way I did inventory 15 years ago has now changed so much, I probably wouldn't recognize the field anymore. I would definitely need retraining. So, yes, keep learning.
  •  Debra Scroggs
    Debra Scroggs
    I have worked in my field for more than 30 years.  I was just laid off due to the federal sequestration.  Now, for the last 5 months, I am looking.  The 5 myths were a good reminder for me.  Especially the ones about marketing myself and keeping my skills tuned.  I am well known in my field but that means nothing with the new companies I am trying to woo!   Thank you for providing this.
  • Lynne Charles
    Lynne Charles
    good advise! I struggle with  trying to brag about myself. I have to remind myself that no one there knows me so I have to tell them of my unique skills.
  • Bruce Loeffert
    Bruce Loeffert
    There is a lot of truth in the 5 myths that are pointed out. I would like to state that there is one I believe is very important. If you are out of work for any period of time it is important to keep up on your trade. Take classes to learn a few new things and polish up on things you have learned along the way.  It is essential to keep learning and reading about new things in and outside of your line of work. Keep an open mind and stay in the game the best you can. When you go on an interview it will keep you sharp and in the game. Good Luck!
  • Kay Lee
    Kay Lee
    Hello,I have been unemployed for 4 months now. I am applying for jobs with my background, under my background, and above my background and no luck yet. I also have contacted everyone I know in regards of networking and people I do not know, face to face, via email and on LinkedIn. I tried to market myself by creating a catchy email address hireklee@gmail.com and I created a website called http://hirekaylee.webstarts.com/ - still no luck. Any other advice for me? I live in Charlotte, NC and if you hear of any companies hiring here with some hiring contacts please let me know as I am very ready to move forward in my career.Thank you,Kay Lee
  •  Anita Swanson
    Anita Swanson
    The five myths were very helpful.  Marketing myself I knew.  I've known about networking but need to do more work in this area.  Liked the questions one.  Updating and changing my thoughts on how things are do ... Well,  I could improve on that.  Thanks.
  • Brent Wilcox
    Brent Wilcox
    I think this is a very good article. Definitely some great ideas for job seekers of any age or background. However, I also feel we need to take into account the emotional issues and other issues surrounding job searching. Consistent rejection is difficult at the best of times. It is that much more difficult when someone faces the stigma of being unemployed and may have other barriers such as a disability, mental health issues, or lives in poverty and perhaps faces very practical barriers such as a lack of transportation, money for basic needs (i.e. lack of food, shelter, interview clothes, etc.).
    I agree with you 100%. My last four employers were just referrals. I'm searching and sending applications but to no avail.
  • Cecilia Ervolino
    Cecilia Ervolino
    All very good points!
  • Janet Neeley
    Janet Neeley
    As an older job-seeker, overcoming the perception of being out-of-date has been critical. Having a LinkedIn profile, a Google presence, and networking like crazy has helped with the marketing. Always doing my company homework and asking questions at interviews has boosted my confidence. Acquiring new certifications and training has boosted my confidence and marketability. My resume is designed to have "keyword" searchability by computer software. And my old-fashioned habit of post-interview Thank You notes (via e-mail--I'm not THAT old) has created the right tone.
  • Myriam Saint-Preux
    Myriam Saint-Preux
    I never realized that looking for a job, or to further your career could be so hard and demanding.
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