Work has changed over the years. Job hunting is an entirely different endeavor than it was even ten years ago. So when you get career advice, take it with stride. Do you own research and seek the advice of recruiters and others whose jobs depend on knowing today’s employment landscape. For a head start, consider the following outdated career tips.
- Include an objective on your resume. These are a waste of space at best and problematic at worst. Your objective either a) states the obvious, as in “I want a job like this one I’m applying for right now” or b) glaringly highlights that your ultimate career sights are set on something far beyond what the job you’re applying for has to offer. Hiring managers know this. Most would rather see a career summary or executive summary instead.
- Add “references available upon request” to your resume. There is absolutely no reason in any scenario to include this statement. It’s a waste of valuable resume real estate. If an employer is interested in you, they’ll ask for references, and they’ll expect you to provide them.
- Your resume needs to be one page. Most job candidates should edit their experience down to one page. Doing so allows you to curate what’s relevant to each specific job. In other words, most resumes that are more than one page include a bunch of irrelevant junk that won’t help. But there are exceptions. Executives and science, medical, research and academic professionals usually need more space to highlight their accomplishments and body of work. In those areas—and when applying for positions in companies overseas—you may be expected to provide a CV, which can span several pages. The Undercover Recruiter does a great job explaining the difference here.
- Perfect your resume and use it for everything. Even small businesses can easily access applicant tracking systems (ATS) these days, which means it’s more critical than ever to tailor your resume to each job. If you don’t use the words and phrases that the job description uses (“content producer” as opposed to “writer,” for instance), your resume may never get the chance to be seen by human eyes.
- Connecting on LinkedIn is your silver bullet. LinkedIn is a valuable tool for job searches and career advancement, but merely blasting out generic requests to connect will not help you get your foot in the door at your dream job. LinkedIn now has some very advanced tools that you can use to connect to quality recruiters and apply for jobs and to leverage your profile and connections to get a leg up without being a creep.
- Always wear a suit to an interview. Many office dress codes today are incredibly casual and, fair or not, wearing a de facto suit to an interview could make you seem out-of-touch, stuffy, old-fashioned (or just old) and—ultimately—not a fit. It’s a tricky balancing act, as we’ve pointed out before. Try to pick up clues from the company’s website and social accounts on what their culture seems to be. If it’s still unclear, ask the person booking your interview what the dress code is. Please still aim to dress “one step up” from the norm (never wear jeans an old t-shirt), but several steps up may sabotage your chances of fitting in.
- A handwritten thank you card is always a good idea. Don’t get us wrong: You should always, always, always send a thank you after an interview. But let’s recap a previous blog post on the subject: Handwritten cards are nice, but sometimes emails are a better idea if a) it’s not your first interview with the company and you’ve already sent a card, or b) time is of the essence and you suspect the decision to hire will be made quickly. We’ve also seen poorly written thank you cards completely sabotage a job offer, so be sure to follow these tips to ensure a simple thanks doesn’t become a deal-breaker.
- Be clever and memorable. The pressure to stand out when job searching should never overpower good judgment and common sense. Please follow the job submission instructions. Bypassing the process—when there are clear and details instructions given, in particular—will not end well for you and your job search. Usually, the best way to stand out is to dazzle an employer with your experience, professionalism, and obvious fit for the position. Forbes contributor Liz Ryan says the way to do that is to BE PRESENT and be yourself. She explains more here.
- Lockdown your social media profiles completely. More than half of employers have found content on social media that’s caused them not to hire a job candidate. But not having an online presence can equally backfire. Nearly the same number of employers admit that if they can’t find a job candidate online, they are less likely to call that person in for an interview. It’s all about balance. Keep private stuff private but give employers something to see: A professional and active LinkedIn presence and any social media and online activity that highlights your professionalism, experience, and even a healthy, well-rounded—preferably PG-rated—lifestyle.
- Work harder and stay longer than everyone else. While employers love to see passion and dedication, it’s a fine line to walk. Lifehack recently published a great article about Why Working Too Hard Could Be Bad for Your Career. It’s worth a read. Not only is this mind frame bad for your health and creativity, but many managers view it as a warning sign. Perhaps you’re not as efficient or productive as you should be, or you’re bad at delegating or prioritizing.
- Never ask for a raise. Many times it’s up to you to raise your hand and ask for that salary bump. However, take the advice we’ve highlighted before and do your research first. Understand what’s possible, determine your market value, and be thoughtful about how you ask.
Have additional questions? Ask our recruiters! They’re here to help.