10 Myths About Job Hunting During a Recession

Temporary jobs are not dead ends.

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It’s easy to get yourself down and believe some of the myths swirling around about looking for a job during a recession. As gloomy as it feels, jobs do still exist. Let’s debunk some of the most common myths about recession job hunting.

Myth 1: No one is hiring.

Fact: While some industries are affected much more than others during a recession, many experience drastic growth and others are much quicker to bounce back. Also, many companies lay off regular employees, but hire consultants and freelancers instead, to save money, providing even more opportunities if you’re willing to look outside of the full-time job box.

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Myth 2: You have to accept less money.

Fact: Companies are still willing to pay for good employees, and they understand that it is necessary to offer a competitive wage to have the best on their team. In fact, asking for less than your market value could be a turn-off. It’s OK to be flexible, but too much flexibility may make an employer feel you’ll be out the door as soon as something better comes along.

Myth 3: No one hires employees over 55.

Fact: During a recession, companies are looking for ways to minimize costs—keep in mind that training a junior employee is a huge cost. The difference between finding an experienced candidate who needs minimal training and has a significantly shorter learning curve, and bringing on a junior employee with lower salary but a lack of experience and a large upfront investment in training, could easily make up the salary difference.

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Myth 4: If you have an outstanding education and great Experience, you’re guaranteed a job.

Fact: Nothing guarantees a job these days. Your education is valuable to some companies, but direct experience usually (not always) trumps education. And don’t forget that personality and culture fit have just as much to do with getting the job as your experience and education.

Myth 5: You’ll find the jobs online.

Fact: Job boards are a starting point in your jobs search, but they’re certainly not the only place to look. Face-to-face interactions, in-person networking, and social networking opportunities will prove to be crucial in your job search. 

Myth 6: Don’t bother approaching companies in a hiring freeze.

Fact: Don’t let the words “hiring freeze” stop you. First, if nothing else, you can build some contacts and establish relationships that will be useful later on, when the company starts to hire again. Second, employees continue to make changes and exceptions to hiring new employees will be made for replacement positions.

Myth 7: Temporary jobs are dead ends.

Fact: Temporary positions sound like a quick, easy way to make some cash while you wait for something better to come along, but many times these positions will turn into full-time opportunities or at least give you an opportunity to get a foot in the door for future positions more aligned with your skills. Some employers are very cautious about hiring new people, so they hire a temporary/contract worker and then, if things work out, they will hire them permanently.

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Myth 8: All you can do is send out resumes and wait.

Fact: Just sending out resumes and waiting for you phone to ring won’t land you a job. Get out there and be aggressive in your job search. You can seek out positions that aren’t necessarily being advertised by networking with people and meeting up with hiring managers at your target companies. Blindly applying for a job online is rarely how you will land your next position. 

Myth 9: No one will hire you if you’ve been fired.

Fact: Most potential employers won’t know you were fired by just looking at your resume, unless you’re the one to bring it up. You’ll have the chance to win them over in the interview and when the topic of why you left your last position comes up, you can deal with it diplomatically. If you were fired in a job previous to your last position, it’s likely it won’t even come up.

Myth 10: You should take the first job offered.

Fact: It’s easy to think you should accept anything that comes along, with the economy so slow, but make sure you take time to consider as many options as possible. Consulting, freelancing, and even taking on temp jobs are all better options than getting stuck in a job you know in advance you will hate.

Lindsay Olson is a founding partner and public relations recruiter with Paradigm Staffing and Hoojobs, a niche job board for public relations, communications and social media jobs. She blogs at LindsayOlson.com, where she discusses recruiting and job search issues.