4 Job Search Tips You Need to Stop Telling Job Seekers

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As the experts job seekers turn to during the job search, we all have go-to pieces of advice we dish out when they need support. But with so many changes happening in the way people find jobs, are some of our traditional job search tips becoming outdated?

Just as we no longer encourage job seekers to send out their resumes through snail mail, there is other advice we need to take out of our repertoire.  Here are four common job search tips we need to stop telling our job seekers:

1. “Keep your nonprofessional social media profiles private.”

When social media first became popular, job seekers were told to hide their Facebook and Twitter pages from the scrutiny of employers and recruiters. One inappropriate comment or unprofessional photo could cost them their dream job. But now, not being able to find a job seeker on social media is just as bad.

A 2017 CareerBuilder survey revealed that 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates before hiring. They’re looking for key employment details, such as information that supports their qualifications for the job (61%), if the candidate has a professional online persona (50%), what other people are posting about the candidates (37%), and any reason not to hire a candidate (24%).

We need to tell job seekers how to manage and leverage social media to their advantage during the job search. They need to have a professional LinkedIn profile and a social media presence that supports the credentials on their resume. 

That’s not to say job seekers shouldn’t post personal things on social media. On the contrary, employers look at their profiles to get an idea of their personality and culture fit. We just need to remind them not to post anything they wouldn’t want their grandma, or a recruiter, to see.

2. “Look for new opportunities.”

This may seem like one of the timeless job search tips, but it’s becoming more common for employees to return to their old employers — and for their bosses to welcome them back with open arms.

If your job seeker left a company on good terms, have them reconsider it as a possible place of employment. There might be better opportunities for them, and the organization may even be willing to pay more knowing firsthand what a qualified employee they are.

3. “Mobile devices are good for researching jobs, but not for applying for them.”

Smartphones and the rise of artificial intelligence have made it incredibly easy for job seekers to search on the go. And we’ve always encouraged them to do so. But when it came to submitting resumes, cover letters, or filling out applications, they needed to use a computer.

This was simply because that’s where most people had those types of job search documents stored. 

However, now with cloud apps, job seekers have access to everything they need. A 2015 Pew Research Center survey found that, out of the adults who used their smartphone during the job search, 50% had filled out an application with their phone, and 23% used their phone to create a resume or cover letter.

So instead of telling job seekers that they need to divide their job search tasks between devices, find out which apps can help them do it all on mobile.

4. “Cater your cover letters and resumes to the company.”

OK, so this isn’t bad advice. But job seekers shouldn’t be sneaking in references to a company’s community involvement so that the hiring manager will like them more. 

It’s a subtle difference, but instead of finding an open position and then looking for any connection they have with the company, job seekers need to create their priorities for organizations and then find what organizations fit them.

Company culture is important. Just as companies make lists of the qualities that constitute a good fit, job seekers need to make their criteria of what will mesh with their personality. When they find a job that meets those needs, they can point out authentic connections in their cover letter and resume.

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Val Matta
Val Matta
Val Matta, Managing Director of CareerShift, co-founded the company in 2005 to help individuals bridge the gap between education and employment.  As a recognized expert in the field, Val is a frequent speaker on career management, networking, and job hunting strategies.  You can connect with her and the CareerShift team on FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter.