When you’re out looking for a job, one of the drawbacks of asking advice from well-meaning friends and from online buddies is that often people pass out the conventional wisdom that isn’t actually ground in reality. So what you get are seemingly sensible tips that aren’t always true, and they can even hurt your chances of getting the job.
Job Hunting Mistakes You Need to Avoid
Always Dress Up for the Interview
You see this bit of advice in just about every article on tips regarding job interviews. They commonly mention wearing a suit if you’re a guy or wearing a conservative professional outfit if you’re a woman.
Yes, it’s true you want to look professional for a job interview. But it doesn’t always show up in a suit. You have to have a clue on what the industry culture is like so that you can dress to fit in.
So a suit for a man is appropriate if you’re interviewing at a law firm or a bank. But if you’re applying for a youthful tech company, an online retailer, or an artsy design company, you may want to check out the firm’s website to see what the people there are wearing so you can adjust your attire accordingly. Your suit will make you look out of place if the company’s standard attire is a combo of a shirt, ripped jeans, and basketball sneakers.
Don’t Mention a Salary Figure
This tip is often given out because mentioning a salary may not make you look good. If you’re going for too low, then you may be underestimating yourself. But you can come off as arrogant if you mention a salary figure that’s too high.
But giving out a salary figure makes sense if you’re ready with your data. Do your research on your position’s market value so that you can mention it and defend it with facts.
Don’t Mention Short Stints in Your Resume
Some say this is a good idea because a short stint on the job makes you look bad on your resume. Either you were fired quickly because you weren’t good enough, or you resigned and then left the hiring company in a lurch. Prospective employers may not want to be in that situation too.
But omitting jobs in which you spent less than a year cannot be an automatic rule for you. If you had good reasons for leaving the job such as drastically changed life circumstances, then you can mention the stint. It can show that you can be adaptable and flexible, and you add that stint to your work experience.
In addition, what if you have several short stints in your work history? Omitting them all can make you look very inexperienced, and you may have very noticeable gaps in your employment history.
Always Follow Up with the Hiring Manager
It’s true that this can help, but you need to be careful. You may come across as desperate and hectoring. Instead, when you follow up you may want to discuss something other than the job you are applying for. At least it’s a fresh approach. Just don’t always ask about how the process is coming along—it reeks of desperation.