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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 May 20, 2020

What Are Analytical Skills (And How to Strengthen Them For Success)

What Are Analytical Skills (And How to Strengthen Them For Success)

Everybody makes bad decisions. Some people, however, are more capable of making better decisions that inch them closer to success.

These individuals are not ruled by emotions, desires, or hunches. Rather, they depend on their analytical skills to overcome challenges regardless of urgency or complexity.

What Are Analytical Skills?

According to Richards J. Heuer Jr., a former veteran of the CIA,[1]

“Thinking analytically is a skill like carpentry or driving a car. It can be taught, it can be learned, and it can improve with practice. But unlike other skills, it is not learned by sitting in a classroom and being told how to do it. Analysts learn by doing.”

Analytical skills can be considered as one of the critical life skills that are not taught in schools. It comprises of visualization, critical thinking, and abilities for gathering and processing information.

Here’s a closer look at some of these abilities:

Visualization

Also tied to a person’s creativity, visualization is the ability to predict the possible outcomes of strategies and actions. In a professional setting, visualization involves the analysis of data – often through illustrations like charts, graphs, and detailed lists.

Critical Thinking

Simply put, a person’s ability to think critically can be measured by his or her consistency in creating reasonable decisions. It pertains to the ability to evaluate information, siphon what’s useful, and draw conclusions without being swayed by emotions.

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As a critical thinker, you’ll find yourself challenging assertions and finding loopholes in proposed solutions.

Computing

Whether you like it or not, you need to be comfortable with numbers if you want to sharpen your analytical skills. Bear in mind that computing encompasses other skills like cost analysis, budgeting, and performing general calculations.

In business, you need to use computations when weighing the risks and benefits of any given strategy.

Problem-Solving

Remember that analytical skills are used not just to understand problems, but also to develop the most suitable course or courses of action. This relates to your goal-setting skills, which involve breaking down and prioritizing between objectives.

Resource Management

Lastly, analytical skills involve some degree of resource management depending on the task at hand.

For example, professionals with a tight schedule must know how to effectively manage their own time – also known as one of the most important resources in the world.

Business leaders, on the other hand, must know how to manage company resources, including cash and manpower. Take note that the definition of analytical skills may change to match the requirements of a specific situation.

For example, upon hiring a web developer, analytical skills may refer to the ability to determine the needs of online users, understand web analytics for optimization, and identify visual elements that can match a company’s brand.

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The skillset above, however, should be applicable in most if not all scenarios.

Develop Your Analytical Skills for More Growth Opportunities

There’s no question that the right decisions lead to positive results. It doesn’t matter if you’re running a business or simply trying to climb the corporate ladder. By training your analytical skills, you position yourself for more growth opportunities while staying away from negligible actions you will regret.

For example, you plan to launch a new startup in your local community – but struggle to decide the niche you want to enter. Since you’ve been a technophile your whole life, part of you desires to invest in a gadget store. If you’re passionate about your business, success will come – right?

If you have sharp analytical skills, you begin to see your plans in whole new dimensions.

What are the possible outcomes of this venture? Does the local market have a need for a new gadget store? How much do I need to get started – and how much should I sell to make a profit?

Depending on your findings, you can determine the feasibility of your business idea without letting your emotions get in the way.

6 Ways to Strengthen Your Analytical Skills

There are several approaches when it comes to developing an individual’s analytical skills. For instance, psychologists agree that reading fantasy stories as a child can help sharpen critical thinking.[2]

Research also suggests that undergoing traditional education has a positive effect on a person’s IQ and analytical skills.[3]

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But as an adult, such opportunities to hone your analytical skills no longer apply. That’s why you need to devise a more deliberate, active approach yourself.

Below are a few strategies to get you started:

1. Ideate Business Ideas

Developing a profitable business idea, whether you pursue them or not, involves numerous challenges. You need a ton of research, computations, and problem-solving to create a tangible business plan.

You can organize your ideas with a note-taking tool like Microsoft OneNote or Evernote. Doing so will allow you to delve deeper into your analysis, organize your findings, and stay focused on roadblocks as well as how to solve them.

2. Leverage Analytical Tools

Aside from note-taking tools, you can also leverage other software that can help with analytical tasks. A money management app like Mint, for example, makes it easy to track your spending habits as well as manage your budget with visual tools. When it comes to prioritizing goals, you can use simple task management apps like Trello or Wunderlist.

3. Have a Personal Learning Library

Thanks to the internet, there’s a colossal amount of resources you can utilize to learn new skills, expand your vocabulary, and train your visualization muscles.

Social media networks like SlideShare and YouTube, for example, offer mountains of tutorials you can access to your heart’s content.

For a personalized learning library, you can download Instagram videos or GIFs from educational accounts like NASA Goddard and the American Mathematical Society. But if you prefer specific, technical skills, then a good place to start would be online learning platforms like Coursera, edX, and Alison.

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4. Participate in Online Communities

The internet is a great place to share experiences, opinions, and sometimes intellectual discussions with like-minded individuals. Reddit, for example, has a place or “subreddit” dedicated for every topic imaginable – from technology to entrepreneurship.

For structured debates, you can head to websites like Debate.org and let other users choose the winner via votes.

5. Seek Mental Stimulation

To keep your mind sharp, make it a habit to engage in mentally stimulating activities, such as chess, puzzles, and brain training apps. A great resource would be Lumosity, which contains dozens of cognitive games designed by teams of scientists and game designers.

6. Keep a Personal Journal

Finally, keeping a personal journal allows you to take a second look at everything that happened in your day.

Remember that writing about learning experiences lets you focus on the lesson rather than the emotion. It will help you analyze how you made your decisions, why you came to certain conclusions, and what you can do to improve in the future.

Here’s How to Create a Habit of Writing in a Journal.

Bottom Line

As an adult, you are required to face a myriad of challenges on a daily basis. Work, school, business, relationships – the list goes on when it comes to the sources of life’s problems. With analytical skills, you can confront and overcome any obstacle standing between you and your goals.

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Featured photo credit: Campaign Creators via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] M. S. Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences: Analytical Thinking?
[2] KD Novelties: Why You Should Read Classic Tales to Your Children
[3] Economic Inquiry: The Effect of Education on Cognitive Ability

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