The hardest part of the job search isn’t writing your resume or preparing for an interview. The biggest obstacle is starting.
In fact, Hired’s 2017 Perceptions of Mobility & the Job Search Report revealed one in five job seekers say they need advice on where to begin. This is why you look for job search advice online.
The problem is, not all advice is good. In fact, a lot of it is either outdated or completely misguided. Here’s a look at job search advice you need to reconsider:
Always look for new opportunities
You will face a moment in your career when you look for jobs with new employers. However, sometimes your best opportunities will be at previous employers.
Look for more options at the companies where you left on good terms. This is actually quite common nowadays. Talent who are rehired after they leave a company are called boomerang employees.
As a matter of fact, a September 2015 survey from The Workforce Institute found that 76 percent of HR professionals say they are more accepting of hiring boomerang employees than in the past.
New Tip: Reconnect with your network of past employers. Instead of just asking for a favor upfront, rebuild a positive rapport with them.
Reach out to the current department leaders to showcase your abilities. This is especially impactful if you have a portfolio or examples of new work you can share. Show them your recent projects and highlight how your new skills can help solve their problems.
Cater to every company
Tailoring applications to companies is fine advice. This job search tip is highly effective because boilerplate resumes and cover letters are quickly trashed.
However, this advice is ignoring the fact that you can actually create your own priorities first, then find organizations that fit you.
New Tip: Create an ideal employers list, where you research the employers you’re most interested in working for. First, gather information about each employer’s values, mission statement, and their products and services. Take notes on where your values align with theirs and highlight what excites you about them.
Then, identify what your dream job would be at each company and start looking for open positions there. Once you determine your cultural fit, you will have a lot more to talk about when you reach out.
Lead with why you would thrive with the company and how you want to add value. Then, stay connected.
Hide your social media
A June 2017 study found that 70 percent of employers use social media to screen candidates before hiring, which is up significantly from 60 percent in 2016.
There are several reasons they do this: 61 percent say they’re looking for information that supports the candidate’s qualifications for the job and half of them say they’re ensuring the candidate has a professional online persona.
They even research your reputation — 37 percent are looking for what other people are posting about you and one in four say they want to find any reason to not hire you.
Many employers don’t waste much time. My company, JobsInSports, conducted a survey and found that 22 percent of employers say the first action they take when they get an application is to research the candidate’s name on a search engine.
The fact that employers screen via social media is plus — it gives you an opportunity to showcase your skills. Instead of hiding your social media presence, leverage it by highlighting your personality and character as well as your qualifications. This helps employers see that you’d be a strong cultural fit.
New Tip: Perform a social media audit to remove unprofessional content, then create a schedule for sharing professional content, like trends, reports, and thought-leadership pieces. Share this content in relevant professional groups online as well to engage with people in your industry.
Don’t let them pass you up
No matter the industry, many employees on various levels have experienced taking a job they soon regret. Your team doesn’t collaborate well. Your boss doesn’t understand your work style. Your tasks are dull and not challenging.
A bad fit will waste everyone’s time. A common piece of advice is that you shouldn’t let employers pass you up and you should be grateful for any interest.
This is not true. While it’s important to be respectful of their hiring process and their time, remember that you’re not simply trying to convince employers to hire you.
Getting a job requires a fit on both sides. You don’t want to settle for just any opportunity.
New Tip: If you’re close to earning a job, ask to meet the team and start shadowing them during a normal business day. This way, you see how you fit in a hands-on experience.
This also gives you a better idea of what is expected of you in the job. If you realize the role doesn’t align with your skills or fulfill you in any way, it’s time to refocus your job search.
A successful job search is not measured by how quickly you find work; it’s the quality of the work you find that matters the most.
Karyn Mullins is the President of JobsInSports, the one place with all the tools, statistics, and information needed to connect job seekers with employers for sports employment openings at all levels.