As a recruiter I have heard and read many suggestions related to job searching and career development. I've spent a significant amount of time helping people find their dream career and have also watched as some candidates have made huge mistakes that have prevented them from doing so.
One of the biggest mistakes I've seen is when job searchers listen to advice without considering the source. Often the source isn't accurate.
As a recruiter, I get paid to help people find new jobs so I have to know what is right and what is wrong when it comes to job searching.
Here are perhaps the biggest myths I've encountered during my career in recruitment:
Myth #1: You can find a job in 14 days/30 days, etc.
I've seen products on the Internet that refer to things like finding your dream job in 14 days or 3 simple steps to find your dream career in 30 days and things of that nature.
Quite simply, these products advertise something they can't hope to deliver.
I've seen plenty of cases where a hiring manager take 14 days (or longer) just to bother to read the resume. Just because they advertise to hire someone doesn't mean they will do it right away. Putting your faith in some sort of a time-bound system probably sets you up for disappointment.
Hiring managers work on their schedule, not on the schedule laid out by some Internet product possibly written by someone who has never actually hired someone themselves.
In the real world, job searching is sometimes a difficult task. In some respects, a job search can almost become a fulltime job in and of itself, it it's done correctly.
Your best bet is to ignore products and concepts such as these and to concentrate on doing perhaps 4-5 things very well to properly manage your job search: talk to friends and family and let them know you are looking for a new job, speak with decision-makers and influencers in your industry, contact companies directly that you are interested to work for and utilize a small list of trusted recruiters (perhaps 3-4) that you feel can help your search.
Using a structured, proven approach like this will yield better results than relying on fly-by-night products that aren't accurate or useful.
Myth #2: Hiring managers don't read resumes, they skim them in 20 seconds or less.
Well, this one is somewhat true. Hiring managers might skim your resume in 20 seconds or less. . . if you don't give them anything that is worth reading.
Not everyone is a speed-reader so if your resume is getting a 20-second look, it might be due to the fact that it isn't worth spending any additional time on. If you have a solid and relevant resume that interests the hiring manager, they will keep reading!
If a hiring manager really wants to hire someone, they will spend the proper time reading a great resume.
A recruiter is generally trained to skim resumes for keywords, required experience, etc so you want to ensure that your resume does highlight key accomplishments and skills using keywords, where appropriate.
If your resume shows opportunities, actions and results that you were responsible for during your career, your resume will get more than a 20-second read. If you simply reiterate your job description on your resume like many people do, your resume might just get the 20-second scan. It's really that simple.
Myth #3: My resume should only be 2 pages maximum, 1 page ideally.
I'm not sure where this rumor started but it's not true.
True, most job searchers will get by with a two-page resume but you might find later in your career that two pages simply isn't long enough and you might need to go onto a third page.
Most of us can get by with a two-page resume and if you are at the very beginning of your career or fresh out of school, perhaps a one-page resume will work.
I've had hiring managers tell me that they'd wished a job candidate had added MORE detail into their resume to discuss certain aspects of their career but I can't recall any of them ever saying “I wish this person's resume was much shorter so I didn't have to read so much. "
At the end of the day, you should be more concerned with the content and style of your resume than simply trying to adhere to a myth that might not even be accurate. How can you predict how long the hiring manager wants your resume to be? You can't.
Concentrate on providing them with relevant information in your resume, that's your best bet.
If you have something to say in your resume, say it. If it doesn't need to be there, keep it out. Use common sense.
Myth #4: I need to get my resume out to as many people as possible to get a new job.
If you believe in the old adage that if you throw enough you-know-what against a wall that something is bound to stick, then this is probably something that will appeal to you.
The truth is that a focused, organized job search is preferable to a strategy of carpet bombing, where you fire off your resume to anyone who has a pulse and hope that someone, anyone, will want to hire you.
The Internet has made it so easy for you to send your resume to dozens if not hundreds of people quickly but keep in mind that everyone else with an Internet connection can do the same thing. Mass emailing your resume all over the place is pretty much just an exercise in spamming and generally has the same results as regular spam that you see in your in box and delete without reading.
Treat your resume like it is something that has value, which it does.
Send your resume to people who can actually positively influence your job search, not just to anyone who asks for it. I'm always amazed when job searchers who are currently employed simply fire off their resume to a faceless recruiter that they've never met and expect that a new job will be sitting in their lap within a few days.
It doesn't work that way!
Plastering your resume up all over the Internet sends a bad message to hiring managers (why can't you get a job with all that exposure?) and drives recruiters away (recruiters don't like working with job searchers whose resume is easily found on the various job boards).
Take control of your job search and remember the long term: Protect your resume and treat it as something that has value. It can make you more valuable in the eyes of hiring managers and recruiters when they knock on your door and don't see your resume plastered all over the Internet.
Carl Mueller is an Internet entrepreneur and professional recruiter who has written an ebook for career-minded individuals: http://www.RecruiterSecretsRevealed.com
Recruiter Secrets Revealed sheds light on job search and career management “secrets" that you can use to supercharge your career and distinguish yourself from other job searchers.