Job Hunting? Beware These 5 Pieces of Old-school Career Advice
Mark Babbitt is a father of five, a grandfather of two… and CEO and Founder of YouTern, named by Mashable as a “Top 5 Online Community for Starting Your Career” and by Forbes in both 2012 and 2013 as a “Top Website for Your Career”.
What’s the trouble with cramming to learn career management skills right before we really need a job? We feel insecure. We are unsure of our direction. And we don’t know who we should listen to – and who we shouldn’t.

To help you figure out who belongs in the “don’t listen” category, here are five pieces of old school advice still dispensed by “career experts” to job hunters. If your career advisor is spouting these tips as set-in-stone gospel… it is not a good sign.

Resumes Must Be One Page

For many in the career development world, this was the one piece of resume advice almost everyone agreed on. In 1994.

Many of today’s best, most experienced job seekers – hungry to gain a competitive edge – have completed multiple jobs, freelance projects, and volunteer assignments. They’ve led community efforts. They may have self-learned SEO, project management or basic coding skills. In other words, they have done everything that a good career advisor suggests.

And then that same advisor says, “Keep your resume to one page… that’s the rule.”

As the cliché goes: “If you got it, flaunt it.”

Impress me, even if that means 3 pages of relevant, quantified impact statements that demonstrate you’re the right person to solve the problem I want to fix with this hire.

Cover Letters Are Never Read

Want to know why “cover letters are never read”? Because your resume probably isn’t worth reading, so neither is the cover letter.

If your resume isn’t peppered with enough keywords to get past the ATS, or the resume is passed because the resume is poorly written – your cover letter absolutely will not matter.

On the other hand, when a resume impresses… when a recruiter says, “Yes, I found one!”… the cover letter does get read. And for many recruiters, including this one, if you haven’t taken the time to submit a cover letter (even if you had to do so separately from the application), your candidacy just lost all the momentum gained by that impressive resume.

Write a really good resume. Then write an even better cover letter. If the recruiter is serious about hiring you… that cover letter will get read.

Many of today’s best, most experienced job seekers – hungry to gain a competitive edge – have completed multiple jobs, freelance projects, and volunteer assignments.

LinkedIn Isn’t for Everyone

At YouTern, we tell job seekers of every level of experience and within every industry to jump all over LinkedIn! Yes, it is that important.

Build a strong headline; tell a compelling story in your summary; list those volunteer roles and the side projects that played a primary role in your skills development. Then, join LinkedIn groups to find mentors and identify influencers. Finally, so you are perceived as a passionate learner, share valuable content.

The bottom line: if you aren’t on LinkedIn… to many employers and recruiters, you don’t exist. If you aren’t already on LinkedIn… do it now.

Facebook is “Personal”

Facebook is only personal because that is how, in the past, we’ve used the tool. There is no rule to say Facebook can’t be used for good… like Karli did on this story:

Karli decided she would reenter the workforce this past summer. Smartly, she began her job search for a tech marketing position in the spring. As part of her personal branding process, she considered cleansing her Facebook page – removing all posts that may negatively impact her online persona – as many career advisors suggest. Then she had a better idea.

Once a day, this soon-to-be marketing grad shares blog posts from Seth Godin, Mark Schaeffer, Tamara McCleary and others. She deliberately demonstrates her passion for her chosen profession.

Just a few weeks after beginning this sharing process, Karli secured four invitations to job interviews. Not because the employers saw a squeaky-clean personal brand. But because recruiters and influencers are taking note of her passion – and her use of Facebook for something other than “personal.”

Social Media Can’t Help You Find a Job

Show me a career advisor who dispenses this advice… and I’ll show you a recruiter who doesn’t network and engage online. I’ll show you someone who has rarely participated in a Twitter chat like #jobhuntchat or #InternPro. Or contribute images to Pinterest or Instagram. Or at least occasionally jump on Snapchat or YouTube to engage and digest content. Most important: I’ll show you someone who doesn’t value shared content and self-learning.

Social media is, until something better comes along, the single best outlet for networking, connecting, learning, and sharing. Granted, it isn’t likely you’ll get a job offer while tweeting or posting. But by engaging, you’ll become known for your knowledge, passion and potential.

“By all means let’s be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out.” 

– Unknown 

Remain open minded, of course – especially during a job hunt. Yes, you should listen to all the good advice you can get. Certainly: you must apply it directly to your unique job search strategy. 

But if someone bestows upon you these five pieces of outdated advice… start taking career advice from someone else.

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