If you think all job hunting advice is created equal, think again. Whether it comes from well-meaning friends, not-so-well-meaning competitors or outdated, obscure websites, some job hunting advice – like the following terrible tips – is better left not taken.
Don't go job hunting during the holidays. Do you believe that hiring managers are too busy reaching quotas, writing performance reviews and planning their own holidays to look at your resume at year-end? The truth is, businesses will do what's needed to fill critical gaps in employment at any time of year. And if other candidates continue to take this bad advice, it will only mean less competition for you.
Always apply in person. Most employers will include details on how they want you to apply for a job in the posting; unless the phrase "in person" is included, don't make a real-life appearance. Showing up on an employer's doorstep unannounced is disruptive, and most hiring managers aren't prepared to speak to candidates without some prior preparation.
No one reads cover letters anymore. In fact, a well-crafted cover letter can take your resume to the top of the pile. While not every hiring manager cares about cover letters, many do – and, as the job seeker, you have no way of knowing who you're dealing with. So, if you want to be in the running against other candidates who are taking the initiative to submit one, include a stellar cover letter with your application.
List every job you've ever held on your resume. You don't have to present a complete (exhaustive) account of your academic and professional history to a potential employer. Your resume is a marketing document, designed to present your candidacy for a particular job in the strongest possible light. Some gigs – like the bartending stint you did in college – aren't relevant to the role you're applying for today, so leave them off your resume.
Use a gimmick to make your resume stand out. Not only does a fancy application delivered via singing telegram or accompanied by a dozen roses reek of effort, it won't help the employer determine whether you're the right fit for the job. The best way to stand out when job hunting is to be a highly qualified candidate; have a resume that shows a track record of achievement; write a great cover letter; and be responsive, thoughtful and enthusiastic during the hiring process. Boring? Maybe. Effective? Absolutely.
Apply to as many jobs as possible. It doesn't matter how many resumes you send out if the positions you're applying to aren't ones you want or are qualified for. Here's where working with a specialized recruiter can really boost your job hunting, by targeting your efforts to just the most promising opportunities.
Do all of your job hunting online. Successful job seekers reach out to friends, former colleagues and others in their personal and professional networks to locate new opportunities. When it comes to positions you're particularly suited for, cover your bases: In addition to applying online (if that's what the company requires), see if you or one of your contacts knows a current employee who could offer a more direct way to get your resume into the hiring manager's hands. While the Internet is a standard part of today's job search, just make sure to use online job search tools effectively.
In sum, don't be afraid to let people know you're job hunting, apply for roles that seem a good fit based on your skills and experience, and feel free to give fellow job seekers similar good advice along the way.