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March 2, 2016 / Stephanie Anderson

Busted! Modern job hunt myths killing your potential

shutterstock_302492738 (1)Myths and legends are the stuff of children’s stories, but when it comes to the world of job searching, tall tales are as common as it gets. Differentiating myth from reality can be difficult, particularly when you consider all the nuances of the modern job hunt. Fear not! Let’s tackle 10 common job hunt myths and set the record straight.

Myth: Apply to as many jobs as possible

“Sending out resumes to hundreds of companies — spray and pray — will eventually result in someone contacting you for an interview. Dead wrong,” says Eric Wentworth, author of A Plan for Life: The 21st Century Guide to Success. “Eighty-five percent of all jobs are filled through contacts in your personal network: friends, former colleagues, LinkedIn, your neighbors, members of your church, etc.”

Myth: All work-from-home jobs are scams

A lot of companies are becoming more telecommuter friendly. What you need to ensure is that you’re applying directly on a reputable company’s website. Use LinkUp.com and use “telecommute” along with your other keywords.

Myth: You can’t apply to jobs from your phone

Sure, applying for a job from a mobile device can be clunky and time consuming, but employers are starting to cater to the mobile job seeker. Some use shorter versions of their applications on mobile and leverage social plugins to facilitate the application process. Bottom line: don’t shy away from searching on your phone, apply if a mobile solution is available, or email yourself the listing from your phone to pursue from your laptop later.

Myth: Skip jobs if you don’t meet the criteria 

“It’s a myth that you cannot apply for jobs if you don’t meet the qualifying criteria mentioned in the job description,” says Adarsh Thampy, CEO of LeadFerry. “If you are really passionate about a role, companies will hire you for your passion. You can always be trained on something; but passion isn’t something that can be taught.”

Myth: Asking for a low salary will make you more attractive

“If you are very good at what you do, employers need you more than you need the employer,” says Triin Linamagi, founder of CVProfs. “Know your value, know the competition, know how to sell your skills and know your price. It’s true you should not take a job just for money, but if you earn less than you feel you are worth you will become demotivated very quickly.”

Myth: Resumes are obsolete

Most large companies use resumes as their initial source for candidate consideration, but more and more they are leaning on sites like LinkedIn to provide supplementary information. Some even allow candidates to fill in their job applications with their LinkedIn data; this, however, does not replace a strong resume as a leading tool for job hunting.

Myth: You should close down your social presence during your job search

“We encourage people to keep their social accounts active, but go through each of them to be sure there isn’t anything ‘you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see,’” says Bill Fish, president of ReputationManagement.com. “Seeing a photo of you with your friends at a baseball game having a beer is not going to stop a recruiter from bringing you in for an interview. Hiring managers like to see some personality, and social media can provide that, showing activities and interests outside of the office. Now, hate speech or references to illicit drugs are always a bad idea, and will get your resume a free ride through the shredder.”

Myth: Today’s focus on digital means less focus on networking

“While it is important to have a professional digital presence, many companies are still not using that as their primary candidate search tool,” says Joshua Evans, CEO at Enthusiastic You! “The suggestion I often make to my younger clients is to reach out directly to companies they want to work with. Take the time to stalk them on LinkedIn, find out if anyone you know is connected and go from there.”

Myth: Companies hire the candidates with the most skills

Skills are important in getting a new job, but companies today are looking beyond education, certifications and experience. Cultural fit is a leading consideration that often is just as important as skill sets.

Myth: Job searching doesn’t require special skills

“Most people don’t understand that the skills needed to find a job are different from the skills needed to do a job,” says Jeff Altman of The Big Game Hunter. “Obviously, you need to be competent enough to execute for the next employer; however, your ability to find work is going to be predicated upon learning and mastering skills in job search.”