12 bad and old school job search advice you should stop believing

16 February 2022

  • There are job search suggestions you still get from people around you, but they are… downright bad.
  • Some of this advice is simply outdated. For example, today it is not necessary to wear a suit for an interview.
  • Don't listen to advice that says you should just follow your desires. Consider how your interests might change and how you can help the world.

Gone are the days when you could just send out your CV to a couple of dozen companies, wear your best suit to an interview, and be guaranteed a 9-to-6 job with profits and a pension.

"It's time for job seekers to stop believing that a straight and appropriate career path, along with long-term employment with one or more companies, will keep them competitive with others," Leclaire, founder and evangelist of the Ready Set Rock Academy, told our publication. “Today, this is no longer the norm.”

When you're looking for a job, you don't have to wear a suit to an interview or ignore perspectives that appear outside of your comfort zone. Plus, the advice to “follow your desires” is far from always correct.

Here are some more outdated job search advice to forget about:

"Follow your desires, no matter what!"

You quit your job to open a cupcake bakery because you love cupcakes. But then the idea didn't pan out, so you went back to the office.

It shouldn't be like that. Following your interests doesn't always mean turning your favorite hobby into a profession.

Instead, think about why you enjoy baking cupcakes so much. Maybe it's because of the chemistry behind the baked goods? Or is it about serving other people?

Here is what Steve Jobs biographer Walter Isaacson says about it: “The most important thing is not just to follow your desires, but to follow something bigger than yourself. Because the meaning is not only in you and your fucking desires.

In other words, would the world change if another cupcake bakery opened? Or can your "passion for cupcakes" be expressed in a more constructive way that will help others while leaving you feeling satisfied with your work?

"You really should get an MBA"

We all know people who constantly insist that you need to learn Chinese, get an MBA, or start writing a novel.

“It all starts with the assumption that someone else knows better than you do what you need to do,” career coach Joanna Echols told Business Insider. "Take back the power and let your decisions and choices guide your job search."

And, above all, if you feel like you need to go into business, then most likely you are not so good at it, if the reason for this decision lies in the fact that you need to do it.

“All you need is just to make your CV better, then you will definitely get any job”

Leclerc said that you can rewrite your CV, fill it with keywords, change it in any way you want. But it won't bring huge changes to your career.

"It's just a small piece of the pie," Leclaire said. “It’s not at all what plays the most important role.”

She added: “Look at the big picture and approach your job search holistically. Work to discover and pursue opportunities that suit you. Focus on your mindset, on building relationships and dating, on working with LinkedIn, on strategizing your job search, on your communication, on maximizing your time, and more.”

“Networking is so awkward. It's best to avoid it."

Very often we perceive professional events as a crowd of people in the same room, who are trying to appear to be who they really are not. But this is only true if you do it yourself.

“Share a concise and clear version of your story, ask questions, and actively listen,” career coach Mark Dickstein told Business Insider. “Natural curiosity is your ticket to valuable conversations and important connections.”

Leclerc also emphasized the importance of curiosity. She said you should try asking people, "What are you focusing on?" or "I'd like to know if there's anything I can do to help you."

“These simple phrases allow you to reduce the feeling that you need to sell yourself or briefly present yourself every time you make a new acquaintance,” Leclaire said. “Start getting to know people in terms of curiosity and support.”

“You are a specialist in Spanish philology, you are definitely not a mathematician. Better stay away from these business analyst positions.”

People who are convinced that their abilities and interests remain the same are much less interested in new information and new areas of activity, Shana Lebowitz of Business Insider recently reported.

For example, you might come to the conclusion that you will never become a programmer just because "your brain doesn't work that way." But you won't know if you enjoy programming, art, or any other activity until you try it.

“If you apply to 30 places, then they will definitely take you somewhere”

In other words, this strategy can be called "on whom God will send," Dickstein said.

It makes sense: you increase your chances of success by increasing the number of headhunters whose stacks will include your CV. But, sadly, most headhunters are able to look a little further, so they will not call you for an interview.

“It's easy for recruiters to identify well-thought-out applications that have been specifically tailored to a particular perspective,” Dickstein said.

"You should end your cover letter with: 'I'll call you on the 12th to schedule an interview'"

You may have heard advice that you should end your cover letter with a "call to action" - or write that you yourself will call them to schedule an interview. This can seem like a great way to show your interest in the position while guaranteeing a perspective to reveal yourself beyond the written words.

But still don't do it.

According to Lily Zhang of The Muse, such a line in a cover letter will make you look "selfish and perhaps overly imaginative."

“I have no idea where this disgusting advice came from, but ending your cover letter in this way does not give the slightest impression that you are an energetic person who takes the initiative in his own hands,” Zhang wrote.

"You'd better buy a suit before you go to the interview"

It's not the 60s anymore! You no longer need a suit to go to any interview (it all depends on your field of activity).

“One of the most common mistakes people make when choosing clothes for an interview is following outdated advice or not taking the time to do their own research and learn a little more about the company’s corporate culture beforehand,” the CEO told Business Insider earlier. Ladder CEO Marc Cenedella.

If you're interviewing at a startup where flip-flops are more visible than heels, it's only letting interviewers know that you're not quite culturally suited to the company if you choose to come to an interview in a suit.

Therefore, Senedella recommends that you call the company itself, the recruiter, or someone you know from there before going for an interview. Ask about what standards of appearance are accepted there.

“This job offer has not yet been posted on the Internet, so it’s probably better not to send your CV there”

Perhaps you somehow managed to find out that the company of your dreams has opened a position that is perfect for you.

There is no doubt, just because this job offer has not yet been published on the Internet, said Dickstein. In fact, you should do exactly the opposite - ask your friend or hiring manager from this company about this vacancy and how you can apply there.

“Oftentimes, hiring managers become aware of a company's needs and open opportunities before they go public,” Dickstein said. "Most of the time, headhunters start the prep process early and even start tracking down potential candidates."

"Make sure your CV is filled with keywords!"

A bunch of keywords won't make you look like you're in the know. This will only irritate anyone who reads your application.

Keywords have become used so often that they have completely lost their meaning, Marie Lorenz, manager of corporate communications at CareerBuilder, told our publication earlier. Therefore, even if you are an “active net user” or a person with “outside the box”, it does not mean as much as it seems.

"Using words like this won't necessarily put you out of the race for the position, but you should make sure you're telling your own story and not glamorizing it up for the holidays," Dickstein said.

Give preference to active words that really communicate what you were doing. Dickstein recommends using words like "achieved," "negotiated," "funded," or "improved."

“It's just a job. Find a place that pays more, even if it's not that interesting there.

About 90,000 hours of your life you spend at work. If you hate every minute spent at work, it will cause you a lot of suffering.

Finding a new job can be the perfect opportunity to find something that matches what you want to do for a long time. Don't just search for a place that pays well - search for a place that will bring you pleasure.

"Your choice can have a huge impact on your health and well-being," Echols said. "Lack of enjoyment or work-related stress are major causes of anxiety, depression, and other psychological and physical disorders."

The article in Russian can be read on hr-portal.ru