The global talent shortage has peaked at a seven-year high. ManpowerGroup’s ninth annual Talent Shortage Survey, conducted across 42 countries and taking into account responses from 37,000 employers, found that 36 percent of the global employers are finding it difficult to fill positions. While skill gap is cited as the biggest reason behind this shortage, job seekers are also not doing any favors to themselves as they lay prey to some very common job search misconceptions. These people are so busy working hard that they never take time to learn how to sell their skills in the job market.

Take time to go through these pervasive myths and misconceptions to avoid derailing your job search process, and make it more effective.

1. All jobs are advertised.

According to Duncan Mathison, the co-author of the 2009 book Unlock the Hidden Job Market, around 50% of positions are currently filled on an informal basis, i.e either without advertising or advertising after someone has already been identified internally for the position. This hidden job market that runs parallel is one reason many candidates miss out on some wonderful employment.

On the other hand, managers argue that such “opportunity hiring” saves a lot of time and resources. Plus, internal hires generally perform better than external ones. While the fairness of this practice can be debated, it isn’t very surprising to know that it’s the job seekers who are at loss in the end. These job hunters do not even know that they are applying for phantom positions.

2. Take the first offer that comes to you.

It is definitely tempting to accept the first job offer that is extended to you. After all, who wants to take the high road, and go through the grueling process of interviewing over and over again? Job hunting is definitely not a very pleasing experience, and that’s exactly why it is easy to give in. However, the only time you should take the first job offer that comes along is when you are sure that the job moves your career in the right direction, and adds significant value to your resume.

3. Cover letter aren’t important.

With constant evolution of resumes, and the emergence of its various forms (video resumes, infographics and online portfolios, among others) it is easy to forget the relevance of another very important part of the job application: the cover letter. Also known as the letter of introduction, a cover letter must remain a vital part of your job search strategy. If you put in enough effort, it will motivate the recruiter to spend meaningful time reviewing your job application. The only time you should consider giving it a pass is if the company requires you to apply via ATS.

4. The resume should only be a single page.

Although most career experts would emphasize on the importance of a brief and concise resume, it doesn’t mean that you have to leave out on your achievements and/or completed projects to limit the length of the resume to one page. The normal length of the resume is two to three pages; anything less deems you inexperienced and is suitable for beginner level.

5. You need to know people to get the job.

It helps to have someone you know work at the company you are interviewing with; however, in most cases, it probably won’t affect your chances of getting selected. You are definitely at advantage if you want to know about the kind of work culture and people that exist at the organization, but expecting anything beyond that would be doing injustice to your own skills and abilities. In any case, the recruiter is too smart to hire you only for your professional connections. With millions of people of looking for a job, relying solely on personal contacts for a new job will ensure that you end up looking for a job for a long time.

6. Lower your salary expectations for getting hired.

It’s been quite some time you left your job and you are anxious to get employed again. Such circumstances often lead job seekers to fall back on desperate measures, like accepting salaries way less than what they actually deserve. While this might work well as a gap-closing arrangement, sooner or later, you are going to get frustrated over your underpaid status and leave the job anyway in search for a better paying one, becoming a job seeker yet again. Instead of lowering your salary expectations, present the recruiter with strong reasoning to cover up your unemployed status. Besides, as long as your salary demands are within an acceptable level as per the industry standards and justify your skills, stick to it.

7. Following up is akin to nagging and irritates interviewer.

Nothing could be further from truth. Following up is an essential part of any job hunting process. A timely follow-up “is never seen as pesky,” says Dan Black, director of recruiting for the America at EY. In fact, he adds, that “HR people and hiring managers expect thank you notes after an interview as a part of the etiquette process.” Your only concern should be to keep it short and sweet, demonstrating your gratitude and interest in the job.

8. Multiple job changes? Forget about getting hired.

There was indeed a time when job hoppers were frowned upon by hirers. However, the notion has been steadily disappearing over the years. In the fast paced corporate world, there is hardly any method to logical progression now as everyone looks to get ahead of others and gain new skill sets. Recruiters avoid hiring candidates with consequent stints of a duration less than one year. Otherwise, there is no reason to be too concerned while moving around.

9. Apply for as many jobs as possible for better hiring chances.

More is always not better, especially when you are job hunting. The shotgun approach, where you send the same resume to as many companies as possible is too common now to prove beneficial. Instead of scattering your resume in multiple directions, narrow your search to a handful of target companies with which you actually identify, and tweak your resume wherever required to suit it towards the job.

10. No one notices your online behavior.

This is a no-brainer, but still deserves mention. In this digital age, there is a very thin, diminishing line between private and public parts of life. Anything that you put up on your Facebook profile or Twitter stream is up for public scrutiny and recruiters are always the first to check out your social profiles in the name of a background check. Hence, instead of living in a false sense of privacy, be careful about what you put online, as it might end up influencing the recruiter’s decision.

Featured photo credit: Drew Coffman via flickr.com

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