Ever have a friend or family member ask you for some advice when searching for a job? Hell, how about a random LinkedIn connection? Well I came across an interesting article by Alison Green from US News and she listed 6 common advices that have been given and are gravely misdirecting in this day and age. You can check out the article Here. But, for the sake of this post I will talk about a few I was able to relate to, from giving this advice and even applying them personally.
First one, which coincidentally is also number one on her list, is to show up in person and inquire about a job opportunity; which seems to infer that you are more interested than online candidates. Now we all know, and from my own experience, back in high school and even college days that we would go to a store or some similar place and ask about open positions; I know Target has a little kiosk in the stores just for the purpose of walking in and applying for a job. Sure, yeah it’s not a bad idea but c’mon now! This doesn’t apply to every job opportunity; though this advice seems very outdated, and personally I wouldn’t ever recommend it, it does however help if you are actually trying to find a part-time job in certain sectors/markets such as retail stores. One of the main reasons stated in the article, and which I also would reiterate, is the fact that companies are becoming more and more digital. What does this mean? Well they are streamlining the whole process electronically and via the internet. Companies want to optimize and hire the most qualified candidate and they don’t want to get swamped with all the applications and resumes. So what they do is, they elect to use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) which sorts out the qualified from unqualified for the hiring managers; this then allows them to further evaluate the qualified ones and narrow down to their top few choices. Another advantage of an ATS is the fact that it helps Hiring managers stay organized with applicants and their status. So coming back to why you should go in person and apply… simply put, it’s because they probably won’t take your resume. They don’t want to process a hard copy when they can easily process digital copies and track the whole process more seamlessly, plus half the time stores will tell you to go online and fill out an application (darn, a wasted effort!).
Second piece of advice NOT to follow: Call up and follow up on your application. I was given this advice by some people (who shall not be named) but never proceeded to listen (gold star for me!). There’s a very simple reason for this; the way jobs are going, there is mostly an imbalance of open job opportunities compared to number of people looking for jobs. Most companies have a serious influx of applicants to process and go through, most of the time the process takes a couple of weeks at least. There is no need to bug the HR department or hiring manager or even a recruiter about the status of your application, some companies offer a status update in a portal to which an applicant signs up for when applying for a job. Just be patient and stick to your plan for finding a job, let the companies you applied for go through applications and they will get back to you as soon as they can. Allison states that “Persistent following up mainly shows that you don’t understand how the hiring process works and don’t respect the hiring manager’s time.” Hey, she makes a good point, I wouldn’t want someone pestering me every so often to see if I’m doing my job properly, would you? Just trust the system and keep doing what you’re doing.
The last thing I wanted to talk about is something that I believed in until reading this article (and getting a job of my own): The best jobs aren’t advertised, you need to network your way to them. This statement is somewhat true in that lot of jobs people get tend to be because they networked with someone and inquired or were referred to a position. Networking is a very good thing to do and one should engage in networking as often as you can, you never know when that person could help you out. But the fact is, Companies want to broaden their reach to fill an opening with the most qualified candidate, not necessarily the most networked candidate. Sure it helps to know someone here or there and yeah it most likely could help you get an internship (maybe more than a full-time job), but the fact is, companies want to see your independence, work ethic and personal drive. Looking and pursuing jobs that are advertised on job boards already one ups people who are hoping to get one by way of their “network”. Companies are also seeing that sometimes the person that got a job via networking feel entitled because they have an “in” with the company. Even though networking is a good way to expand opportunities for future endeavors, it’s not entirely true that networking is the only way these days to get a job. So don’t lose hope and keep pursuing! Companies dig that!
So if you made it this far, I congratulate you! You are a few steps ahead of successfully (and hopefully) finding a new job or even helping someone’s job search with proper advice. Make sure you’re not giving the wrong advice and be sure to check out Allison Green’s article to see what else she had to say!