Outdated job search and career advice that you can ignore

There are a few times where you just know everyone will have (and provide unsolicited) advice:

  • When you want to lose weight/get in shape
  • When you are in a new relationship (or looking for one)
  • When you are looking for a job!

It’s something about how we’re built as human beings — we just love giving advice! Although I’m SURE all the health and relationship advice your family and friends have is spot on (?), one area where seemingly helpful advice does not come in handy is with your job search. 
That’s because, while family and friends always have the best of intentions, they’re just not interacting with employers every day. In other words, they’re not recruiters! 
Not all advice is off base, but watch out for this career advice that’s especially outdated and irrelevant today:

Be sure to send a printed copy of your resume as a follow up (on 40lb paper).

Oh this one. This piece of advice was still fairly relevant around a decade ago, but not anymore. You see, the thought process here was that it would impress hiring managers if you not only submitted an online application, you followed up by sending your cover letter and resume, printed on (expensive!) thick paper stock, and in a special envelope. You received bonus points if you overnighted it or sent it via FedEx. 

To be clear, this is NOT a piece of career advice that you should ever take. Not in 2020, or in the foreseeable future. 

Rather than impressing hiring managers today, cluttering their (already cluttered) desks with hard copies of your resume is something that frustrates and annoys busy professionals. In fact, rather than help, this advice could actually hinder your job search! 

While you may still want to bring hard copies of your resume to interviews (talk to your recruiter to know the preferences of a particular employer), you can still skip the expensive paper stock! 

Make sure to wear a suit to your interview.

Many of us have purchased a suit (whether it’s with a skirt or pants) for an interview. A variation of this advice is “dress for the role you want.” 

Many businesses today, though, have a more relaxed culture and coinciding dress code (if they even have a dress code). Not only would wearing a suit stand out, but it may also label you as someone who would not be a culture fit. 

With robust websites and social presence today, you can definitely gain some insight into the culture of prospective employers. Tailor your clothing choices accordingly. Of course, you’ll want to look professional. But you don’t need to pull out that prom outfit! 

Don’t forget to put a picture on your resume.

This one was actually pretty popular in its day, but that day was before social media. Recruiters and hiring managers can easily see your face by looking up your profiles (and they most definitely DO look at your profiles). 

Including a photo with your resume isn’t necessarily wrong or frustrating, but this piece of advice makes you look out of touch and even antiquated. Plus, depending on the ATS, including an image or other funky formatting can mean your resume renders strangely for recruiters.

Make sure you call to follow up if you don’t hear back.

Following up is okay, and can help demonstrate your eagerness to join a particular company. But, let’s be sure to emphasize what’s wrong with this piece of career advice — call to follow up! 

If you’re working with a recruiting firm (like us!), you can theoretically call. But, it’s almost always better to email or text. You’ll get a faster response for sure. 

Calling an employer to follow up can really put off prospective employers. Sending an email is preferred, as it can be followed up on when the individual has time. Calling, on the other hand, can come across as demanding immediate attention, and can also be seen as disrespectful. Plus, as with all of this advice, it’s simply out of touch (and out of date). 

Make sure you stay at that job for at least a year, no matter how much you don’t like it.

This one may vary a little bit, anywhere from one to three years tends to be the range that comes along with unsolicited advice. 
Believe it or not, 15 or 20 years ago (and in some circles, even 10 years ago), many of us were taught this advice in high school or college. Leave a job before the desired time frame had elapsed (even if it wasn’t a right fit, was an unsupportive environment, whatever the reason!) and you would forever be brandished a “job hopper.” And make no mistake, back in the day, that label was a death knell. 

I bring good news, though. A vast majority of hiring managers have tossed this advice (and unwritten “requirement”) out the window. Think of how many people stayed in terrible jobs (and how many companies suffered from unhappy employees) due to this antiquated notion!

Employers today are more savvy — they respect when you identify a poor fit and move on, which is best for everyone. They understand that in businesses today, leadership changes, expectations evolve and what was once (or seemed to be) a good fit isn’t any longer. The emotional intelligence needed to identify an issue like this and fix it (by moving on) is appreciated rather than shunned. 

Of course, the best solution is to find a strong-fit opportunity in the first place! (HINT: We can help you find the perfect job!). 

The right recruiter can help you know which career advice to take.

Here at Matlen Silver, we’re talking to clients across the country every day. We know what they want, and we’ll help you position yourself to land your next dream job. Looking for your next great opportunity? Check out our current IT jobs or contact us to get started.

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