Report: 7 Pieces of Outdated Job Search Advice That May Be Hurting You

If you’re looking for work, you may be doing all you can to land a new gig: networking, searching jobs sites and applying for jobs that fit your skills. But some of the strategies you’re using might not be as helpful as they once were.

Employment website FlexJobs recently listed some job search tactics that are outdated today. We've listed them below.

Are You Following Old Job Search Advice?

Let’s go over some employment tips you may have heard or followed for years that no longer apply.

1. Your Resume Should Be One-Page Long

This is something that I have personally believed and used to tell people, but FlexJobs says that’s no longer the case!

“it’s OK to have a two-page resume. In fact, a two-page resume is often your best bet,” it says on the jobs site.

Of course, if you’re just starting out in your career, it’s perfectly alright to have a one-page resume. After all, how are you going to fill up two pages if you don’t have two pages’ worth of material to include?

The point is that having a one-page resume is no longer a hard-and-fast rule.

One thing that can help you with compiling your work history and accomplishments is a resume builder. Here are the best free and cheap resume builders out there.

2. List Every Job You’ve Ever Had on Your Resume

If you’re like me, you may feel that every single job you’ve had has made you who you are today. With that being said, your resume shouldn’t read like an endless scroll of past jobs and functions.

According to FlexJobs, a two-page resume is usually enough.

"The only time you would use a three-page resume is when everything on your resume is relevant to your career," the site says.

Even then, you should be judicious about listing your early work history when you may have later examples that could better sell your skills and experience.

So the question to ask yourself is whether the work experience you list is really relevant for the job at hand — or does it just emphasize what’s already been stated?

3. Instead of Elaborating on a Weakness, Try To Turn It Into a Positive

Perhaps it’s human nature for us to try to spin a negative into a positive, but when your interviewer asks you to “Tell me a weakness of yours,” it may be OK to do just that, according to FlexJobs.

As the site brings out, rather than dodging the question, it’s best these days to satisfy what the interviewer wants: your honesty.

Revealing a time or two when you fell short may show the interviewer how you’re able to do self-analysis and come to terms with your flaws. It may also help reveal a level of maturity, according to FlexJobs.

4. Use Formal Language for Your Resume and Cover Letter

You may be caught up in trying to appear high-minded in your correspondence with your would-be employer, and that’s understandable. The key to whether you should use formal language depends on the company, according to FlexJobs.

Do your research on the company (more on that later) you’re interested in working for. What you find out will best inform you on how formal or informal you should be in your resume and cover letter.

5. Include an Objective at the Top of Your Resume

It used to be common to see the word “objective” atop a resume, but that’s not a mandatory thing. FlexJobs says there are some alternatives to “objective” that work just as well.

“Instead of an objective, include a resume summary or summary of qualifications,” the FlexJobs article says.

This tip also jibes with what's in our Resume Template, which you can use to shape up your resume.

6. Dress Up in a Suit and Tie

A common custom used to be that professionals donned full suits for interviews, the thinking being that you needed to put on your best face.

Nowadays, the decision to wear a suit for an interview depends on the company’s culture, according to FlexJobs. Again, this is where your research will inform you.

If you’re applying for a job as a banker, it makes sense to come dressed for the part. If you’re interviewing with a company that has shown itself to be laid back and not a stickler for suits, you might opt for a more casual look.

Still, FlexJobs recommends that you dress just a bit better than what you know the company standard is.

This advice also applies to video interviews, FlexJobs Career Development Manager Brie Weiler Reynolds tells Team Clark.

“I would go a little bit more formal than less formal just to show that you really are putting in an effort,” says Brie. “Keep it basically simple and very professional-looking.”

7. Work for the Same Employer for Years and Years

In the old days, many employees could expect to retire with a company after 20, 30 or 40 years, but that’s no longer the case.

According to FlexJobs, “Sticking around in a job that makes you miserable does neither you nor the employer any good.”

To hiring managers and recruiters, job-hoppers just don’t raise red flags like they used to, according to FlexJobs.

"People that hop from job to job or even career to career are no longer viewed with suspicion," FlexJobs says, "as long as they can explain why they job hop and how said hopping would benefit the employer."

Final Thoughts

Of all the lessons we’ve learned today, one of the things that stands out the most is that you should research the companies where you’re considering applying.

  • Read up on the history of the business, which may typically be found on the company's website.
  • Peruse the company's social media channels to see what you can learn about the company's culture.
  • Do an internet search for news about the company's activities or major players. If there's bad news, you probably won't have seen it on the company's own website.
  • Networking: Query current and former employees of the company. You might reach out to people on LinkedIn or even Facebook.

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