Job search advice is almost as plentiful as weight loss solutions these days, it seems – and just as effective. Books, newspaper columns, radio shows, web articles, blogs, and career sites are just some of the places offering their wisdom. In the last week, I read competing articles on two of the largest web portals that listed “myths” about job searches. Several myths were in both articles, and on two of those, the authors had opposing answers – basically, one said “Do this,” and the other said, “Don’t do this.”
How can I tell you to not believe most of what you hear or read about finding a job? Why should you believe me instead? Tough question. I think the answer lies in the fact that I give you tough answers. Almost all of the books, articles, etc., I’ve read have some meaningful tidbits, but most are sugarcoated beyond recognition. They are really just “feel good” books – “you’re out of work, but gosh, haven’t I made you feel good! Come back again / Buy my next book!”
Yes, I want traffic to this site, and I have a successful book out and another on the way, but I not going to pander to your anxiety to wring money from your purse. I’m going to tell you like it is – getting a good job is tough. It requires hours of work and practice. It takes dedication and persistence. You have to eat rejection like it was cotton candy. Use common sense – if getting a good job was easy, or fun, or something that had no stress or frustration, everyone would have good jobs. Here are a few clues that you might be getting worthless advice:
- Does the author/speaker seem too young to have significant real-world experience? I’ve seen authors who couldn’t have had more than a couple of jobs themselves giving others advice.
- Do they offer “interviewing tricks,” or “killer resume formats” or some such “special knowledge” that they have somehow discovered? I cover these topics, but there is nothing special about my answers – except that they’re right.
- Do they rationalize why you do not have to work as hard, or be as error-free, or pay attention to all of the details? Feels good, doesn’t it? The world is full of worthless things that feel good.
- Do they minimize the role of the face-to-face interviews?
Amazingly, I’ve read job search strategies that focused on sending out resumes. 95% of all hires happen because the employee asked the employer for the job in person, to their face. The other 5% were hired when the employer asked the employee to come work for the company. Rarely do these authors have personal experience finding people jobs every day. I’ve read and studied at least 200 books, articles, and websites from universities, technical colleges, “job/career coaches,” and other sources that claim expertise – most of what they write just isn’t true. Their ideas might seem plausible in theory, and almost certainly make you feel good about what you’ve been doing in your search so far, but the practical application of most of their advice will lead your job search astray.
I’ve been placing candidates from all professions and trades in good jobs since 1973 – more than 7,000 people in that time. I have resumes from more than 90,000 other people who I was not able to help. Why? Because in my profession, I find people for jobs, I don’t find jobs for people. I’m not paid unless my clients hire those people I find, so for many years, I have been teaching my candidates how to make my clients hire them. I’ve gotten very good at it.
Yes, there is some good job search advice available, but most is not. Check out the author’s credentials – do they have real-world experience? If you finish reading their advice and aren’t thinking, “Whew, I have my work cut out for me,” it was probably worthless advice.
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