How You’re Screwing Up Your Job Search
Like many of you out there I am ALWAYS looking for ways to improve my job searching and interview skills. That often involves reading all of the fabulous blog posts written for INALJ.com, as well as Googling around looking for any advice anyone is willing to give. Recently I came across an article on Forbes.com telling me how I was screwing up my job search! Now, there are some things I agreed with but others, I was not so crazy about.
The first piece of advice listed is simple. Do not provide references that won’t give you glowing recommendations! To me, this seems like a no brainer but the more I thought about it, the more complicated it actually seemed! I tend to think that everyone I have ever worked with thought I was great (I know, super narcissistic ha-ha) because I arrived every day either on time or early and always did my job. Sometimes I even did MORE than my job. However, just because I think I was a great employee, does not mean someone else did. I think it’s important that when you choose references you either know exactly what they are going to say or you feel comfortable enough with them to ask them to say exactly what you think your future employer might want to hear.
The article tells job seekers to avoid laying out your resume in a microscopic font. I remember when I first learned to write a resume. It felt like the number one thing emphasized was to keep it to one page. No matter what you do your resume should only be ONE PAGE. Sure, in high school that was fine. I could barely fill up a whole page! But now, I want hiring managers to see everything I’ve done and I don’t want to have to leave things out to keep my resume to one page only. That’s why I was relieved to read this piece of advice! Sometimes if your resume flows onto a second page it’s not the end of the world! As long as it’s not because you’re filling your resume with long-winded paragraphs utilizing a second page is not the worst thing you will ever do.
Another piece of interesting advice was to always say glowing things about your former employer. This I found extremely interesting! Now I can honestly say I have never gone into an interview and bad mouthed a former employer but I never worked hard to talk positively about them either. I would say I was more neutral than anything else. However, this article claims that hiring managers identify more with your former boss, not you, which makes total sense! Even if you think that the managers at former position made terrible choices, when talking about them you should spin it in way that doesn’t seem super negative or critical. Always be positive, no matter what you’re discussing!
The last piece of advice I’m going to discuss is one that I had a hard time with. Don’t be honest about your weaknesses. This one sort of threw me for a loop. I know that the general rule is to spin your weaknesses to show how you have overcome them and make them seem more like strengths, but I don’t feel like you have to lie to do this. I’ll agree that there are some weaknesses that may not be appropriate for an interview setting. For example, if you are interviewing for a management position it is probably not best practice to talk about how you have a hard time connecting with people. However, I feel you can avoid discussing some weaknesses while still being honest about others. I think mostly it is just important to put the emphasis on your positivity and show how you can overcome any obstacle.
Stop Screwing Up Your Job Search In These Ten Ways – Susan Adams, Forbes Staff