There’s lots of advice for job-seekers out there, but not all of it is worth heeding.
Whether you’re a recent graduate, in between jobs or just casually browsing to see what’s out there, you’ve probably gotten no shortage of advice from all sides on how best to find a job.
With so many pieces of advice out there, it can be difficult to determine what’s worth listening to and what isn’t.
To help you separate the wheat from the chaff, here are five common job search tips that you may want to avoid.
1. Use lots of buzzwords
One of the biggest challenges in writing a resume is to find a way to get employers to actually notice it. A common suggestion to achieve this is to use attention-grabbing buzzwords — but this can actually have the opposite effect.
“Job seekers are often told to pack ‘buzzwords’ into their resume. Unfortunately, words that soundgreat like ‘results,’ ‘optimized,’ ‘detail-oriented,’ etc. often don’t actually mean anything,” says Brette Rowley, CEO and founder of personal branding agency Top Seed. “It’s more important to demonstrate the effect you had on your previous workplaces through metrics and plain language that anyone can understand.”
2. Plan it all out
Every year we hear about candidates who came into an interview and didn’t know something as basic as what the company does or even the company’s name. It’s clear that doing some prep work beforehand is a good idea — but did you know it’s also possible to have too much of a good thing?
“My greatest piece of advice would be to lose the over-preparation and instead arrive with self-worth, a listening ear and a candid approach,” says Julieanne O’Connor, author of “Spelling It Out for Your Career.”
“What employers care about is hiring someone who is malleable and willing to give their personal assets/value. So the more a person can arrive to an interview grounded in self-worth, and the more they can listen, the better. Listening is the No. 1 greatest skill.”
3. Apply to as many jobs as possible
Most people are familiar with the phrase “quality over quantity,” but many forget to apply it to their job search. “While there can be strength in numbers, this is faulty logic,” says Andrea Berkman-Donlon, founder, The Constant Professional. “Over-applying may get you an increased number of interviews, but what percent of those meetings will be worth your time? Make sure you read the job descriptions before you send your resume.”
4. Take a day off
While sending out resumes and applications willy-nilly may be inadvisable, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be constantly putting effort into your job search. Whether you’re making calls to recruiters, keeping up with industry news, researching top companies in your field, attending industry events, or exercising your skills with online courses, the important thing is to stay active.
“When you are not working, your primary job is to get a job. Therefore, wake up each day with a goal and stick to it,” says Berkman-Donlon. “Staying with a routine will also ensure you are proactive about the search and will keep you abreast of changes to your industry.”
5. Make your biggest weakness a backdoor positive
It should go without saying that giving a straight answer in a job interview is typically a good idea. Still, many people ignore this when it comes to the dreaded “biggest weakness” question, instead trying to paint a positive attribute as a negative.
“This is a terrible suggestion, as the interviewer is looking for you to honestly appraise your faults and talk about how you’ve worked to overcome them,” says James Rice, head of digital marketing at WikiJob. “Saying that you too often work late, or that you’re too much of a perfectionist, fails to demonstrate any real self-awareness and makes you come across as fake.”
Seeking out advice and adapting your search habits can be enormously beneficial to your job hunt. But it’s just as important not to blindly accept any old advice as gospel.