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Debunking 10 Myths about Job Hunting

Debunking 10 Myths about Job Hunting

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Saurabh Tyagi

Career Author and Technology Evangelist

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Last Updated on January 13, 2020

Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

Are you challenged at work? Do you regret career decisions? Are you happy? If the answer to the questions leads to a negative feeling, it is time to determine next steps.

Many people settle for a career that no longer brings satisfaction. Most will respond by stating, “I am surviving” if a colleague asks them “How’s work?”

Settling for a job to pay bills and maintain a lifestyle is stagnation. You can re-direct the journey of a career with confidence by taking control of future decisions. After all, you deserve to be live a happy life that will offer a work-life balance.

Let’s look at the reasons why you need a career change and how to choose a career for a more fulfilling life.

How to Know if You Need a Career Change?

The challenges of dissatisfaction in a career can have a negative impact on our mental health. As a result, our mental health can lead to the obvious appearance of stress, aging, weight gain and internal health issues.

You deserve a career that will fulfill the inner desire of true happiness. Here are common factors that it is time for you to change your career.

Physical Signs

Are you aging since you started your job? Do you have anxiety? What about work-related injuries?

It feels amazing to receive a pay cheque, but you deserve to work in an environment that brings out the best of you. If the work environment is hazardous, speak to your boss about alternative options.

In the case that colleagues or your boss take advantage of your kindness, feeling the anxiety of fear of losing your job because of a high-stress environment may not be right for you.

Mental Signs

One out of five Americans has mental health issues, according to Mental Health America.[1] In most cases, it is related to stress.

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I remember working at a job in a work environment where harassment was acceptable. I had to walk on eggshells to avoid crossing the line with colleagues. My friends started to notice the difference in that I seemed out of character. It was then that I knew that changing a career to freelancing was the right decision.

Here is a list of mental signs of workplace unhappiness:

  • The tension in your neck
  • Difficulties with sleeping
  • Unable to concentrate
  • High anxiety
  • Depression

If you start to feel your self-esteem is diminishing, it is time to consider if working in a high-stress industry is for you. The truth is, this negative energy will be transferred to people in your life like friends and family.

Are You Sure You’re Not Changing for the Wrong Reason?

Most people that feel they need a career are frustrated with their situation at work. Do you really understand your current situation at work?

The reason it is important to think about the work situation is some people decide to change career for factors that are insignificant. Factors that can potentially change if the person works in a different department or new organization.

Here is a list of unimportant factors to think about before you decide to make the transition:

Desire for an Increase of Salary

The desire for a higher income can persuade some to believe they are in the wrong career. The issue with this is more money requires more time in the office or taking on several positions at a time.

At times, pursuing a high-income role can be the complete opposite of what one is expected. It is what happens when a colleague leaves a company to a new one and returns several years later.

Overnight Decision

Let’s face it. We make overnight decisions when stressed out or disappointed with situations at work. The problem with a quick decision is the negative and positive points is overlooked.

Rejected for a Promotion

I have heard stories of managers that applied ten times for a position throughout a 5-year period. Yes, it sounds to be a lengthy process, but at times, a promotion requires time. Avoid changing a career if you do not see the results of a promotion currently.

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Bored at Work

Think deeply about this point. If you work a job that is repetitive, it is normal to feel bored. You can spice it up by changing the appearance of your desk, socializing with new employees in a different department, joining a leadership committee at work or coming to work with enthusiasm. Sometimes, all it takes is you to change jobs into a fun situation.

A career change can take time, networking, education and the job search process can be a journey. Here is a list of things to consider before making a final decision:

  • How long have you worked in your career?
  • What is the problem at work? Do you work well with the team?
  • Do you receive recognition?
  • Can you consider working in a new department?

If after reviewing your work situation and none of the above recommendations can help, then it’s time to make a career change.

How a Career Change Will Change Your Life

I have a friend that works in the medical industry. She was once a nurse working directly with patients in one of the top hospitals in her area. After five years, she started to internalize the issues with her patients to the point where she felt depressed after work hours. It impacted her relationship with her family and she almost lost herself.

One day, she decided to wake up and take control of her destiny. She started applying for new medical jobs in the office. It meant working on medical documentation of patients which is not an ideal career based on what society expects a medical professional to perform. But she started to feel happier.

It is a classic example of a person that was negatively impacted by issues at work, stayed in the same industry but changed careers.

A career change can fulfill a lifelong dream, increase one’s self-esteem or revive the excitement for one’s work.

You know a career change can be the right decision to make if you experience one or all of these:

  • Working in a negative workplace: Don’t be discouraged. A negative workplace can be changed by working at a new organization.
  • Working with a difficult boss: The challenges of working with a difficult boss can be stressful. All it takes is communication. You can address the issue directly with a manager professionally and respectfully.
  • Feeling lost about what you do: Most people stay at their jobs and settle for mediocrity because of the fear of failure or the unknown. The rise to success often comes with working a tedious role or stepping outside of one’s comfort zone. If you fear the idea of being involved in activities that are new, remember that life is short. Mediocrity will only continue to make you feel as if life is passing you by.

How to Make a Career Change Successfully

The ultimate key to success is to go through a career transition step by step to avoid making the wrong decision.

1. Write a Career Plan

A career plan has a dead line for action steps that includes taking new courses, learning a new language, networking or improving issues at work.[2] A career plan should be kept in your wallet because it will motivate you to keep pursuing the role.

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You can learn how to set your career plan here.

2. Weigh Your Options

If you have a degree in Accounting, write down five positions in this industry of interest. The good news is diplomas and degrees can be used to a variety of roles to choose.

You don’t have to stick to what society holds a top job. In the end, choosing the right role that will make you happy is priceless.

3. Be Real About the Pros and Cons

It is time to be honest about strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the job market that are impacting the current situation.

A SWOT Analysis of a career can include:[3]

  • Economic factors
  • Direct competition: Is this role in high demand?
  • Location: Do you need to move? If the goal is to work in tech and living in Cincinnati is not realistic, consider moving to San Francisco.
  • Achievements: To stand out from the competition achievements like awards, committee involvement, freelance work or volunteering is a recipe for success.
  • Education: Do you need to go back to school? Education can be expensive. However, online courses, webinars or self-study is an option.

    A career blueprint is the first step to creating realistic goals. A person without goals will be disappointed without a clear direction of what to do next.

    4. Find a Mentor or Career Coach

    A mentor or a career coach that works in the desired position can share the pros and cons of working in the role. Here is a list of questions to ask a mentor:

    • What is required to be successful in the role?
    • What certification or educational development is needed?
    • What are the challenges of the role?
    • Is there potential for career advancement?

    A chat at a coffee shop with a mentor can change your mind about the desire for a career change.

    Find out how to pick a good mentor for yourself in this article: How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed

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    5. Research Salary

    Some people decide to change careers for a role that pays less or perks like benefits to make up for the difference in previous to potential salary.

    It can reveal the cities throughout the country that offer a higher salary for those that have an interest in relocating for work.

    6. Be Realistic

    If your goal is to move up into an executive position, it is time to be honest about where you are in your career.

    For example, if boardroom meetings, high-level discussions about financials or attending weekly networking events are boring, an executive role may not be right for you. If you are an introvert and working with people every day is nerve wrecking, you need to reconsider a job in sales.

    Ask yourself if you can work in this role for the next five years of your life. If other benefits that come with the role are enticing, other roles are fit that will make you happy.

    7. Volunteer First

    A person that wants to become a manager should take on volunteer opportunities to experience the reality of the position.

    Becoming a committee member to pursue a presidential opportunity can provide a perspective on leadership, maintaining a budget and public speaking.

    Volunteer in a role until you are certain that it is the right opportunity.

    8. Prepare Your Career Tools

    I recommend asking a boss, colleague or mentor for career tools. If you prefer professional assistance, you can seek out resume writing assistance. Here is a list of things to consider when preparing career tools:

    • Online search: Search your name online to see what shows up. I recommend searching images that are on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or other sites on a personal account. The last thing you want to realize is the job search is unsuccessful because there is unprofessional content you posted online.
    • Be LinkedIn ready: Recruiters conduct a LinkedIn search to see if the work experience is the same on a resume. Remember to change the wording on LinkedIn from the resume, or it will appear there was no effort put into creating the profile.
    • Portfolio: A portfolio of work is recommended for people that work in the arts, writing, graphic design and other fields. I recommend a portfolio online and one that is available in hand when attending job interviews or networking meetups.
    • Cover letter: A good cover writer will always impress your potential employers. Here’s how to write a killer cover letter that stands out from others.

    Bottom Line

    It takes time to move towards a new career. Pay attention to the physical and mental signs to maintain your health. You deserve to work in happiness and come home stress-free. If you avoid the common mistakes people make, you will find a job and discover the role in a career field that is the best fit with your skillsets.

    Master these action steps and changing career paths will be on your terms to make the best decision for your future.

    More About Career Change

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

    Reference

    [1] Mental Health America: The State of Mental Health in America
    [2] MIT Global Education & Career Development: Make a Career Plan
    [3] Creately: Personal SWOT Analysis to Assess and Improve Yourself

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