In many ways, the process of searching for and finding a job differs from what we are traditionally taught in school or by elders.
While some of this can be accounted for by the fact that expectations and practices have changed over the years, much of this common knowledge was simply never true in the first place.
This post will attempt to debunk some of the common myths and misconceptions surrounding job hunting.
The Ads You See Are What’s Out There
It is said by experts that at most, only 15 to 20 percent of job openings are actually ever publicly advertised. Most of the rest of the positions out there are within the “closed” or “hidden” job market.
Whatever you choose to call it, the only way to penetrate these hidden opportunities is by networking. Networking can take place via face-to-face interaction, LinkedIn, etc. It is simply important that it is done in some fashion.
It should be mentioned that the more prestigious a position or the higher its salary, the more likely it’ll be part of the “hidden” job market.
Job Hopping is Always Frowned Upon
This myth largely revolves around generational expectations: having a number of brief vocational stays used to imply that something was awry with the applicant.
The general perception really began to change in the 1980s and 1990s, as downsizing began to change the nature of work. More often that not, a modern employee’s journey does not begin and end at any given firm.
To simply advance and gain new skills, there is often the need to leave a company. With this being said, multiple short stints at firms do not look good. There is a balance between having too many short stints and feeling like you’re advancing and gaining new skills.
Cover Letters are Secondary
While a good cover letter won’t necessarily get you the job, it can still play a big role in getting you an initial interview. Each and every cover letter you write should specifically address the person who’s in charge, and help emphasize the strength of your fit within the company.
Cover letters can also help emphasize your communication skills. Being able to write effectively is a skill that most employers prioritize in their job candidates.
The only time a cover letter shouldn’t be sent is when the employer explicitly mentions that one should not be included.
Simply Sending Out Cover Letters and Resumes Will Suffice
In some cases, such as when an applicant fits the requirements of the job almost perfectly, this will be the case.
Most of the time, however, particularly in a competitive job market, one needs to take further initiative than simply emailing or applying.
Calling an employer to request an application status update can help with showing ownership and genuine interest in a position. It will also often help you ultimately land that job interview.
If nothing else, following up can help you network. This helps you learn about other positions, whether publicly available or “closed”, either at that firm or another recommended firm.
Interviews Must Happen During the Work Day
While interviews have traditionally been conducted during the work day— between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.— they don’t necessarily need to be.
Employers have begun to conduct interviews either earlier or later in the day in order to accommodate for current positions or other responsibilities.
In fact, many employers and interviewees prefer to conduct interviews outside of business hours because there are fewer time constraints and distractions.
Qualifications Mean Everything
While qualifications may often play the biggest role in hiring, they are usually only part of the puzzle. For example, fit with the company and interviewing skills also often play a huge role in the hiring decision.
This makes it important to diligently prepare for any interview, whether you feel overqualified or underqualified. You can make up for a lack of experience with a bevy of charisma, and vice versa.