1. Your resume should never go longer than one page. While conciseness and clarity is key in any written document, words in and of themselves are not "bad." Master Resume Writer Dawn Bugni says, "It takes words to convey value!" Unchain yourself from the arbitrary resume-length rules and instead, focus on writing a value-rich story that sells your talent to a target audience. Think self-marketing.
2. Don't participate on LinkedIn if you're employed. The visceral fear of being fired because you were caught looking for a job on LinkedIn is understandable. However, tame those fears by applying best practices for using LinkedIn, even while employed. For example, suddenly becoming hyperactive on LinkedIn may send up a big red flag to your employer. Instead, organically enhance your visibility to your network and to your current company through intentional, meaningful updates and interactions.
3. Tell everyone you know you're looking for a job. While being too discreet about a job search may slow your goals, emailing everyone in your network to help you find a job may also dampen progress. Not only are most such emails too generic to generate a helpful response, they also can come across as needy and off-putting. Instead, offer your value to professional associations, participate in social media forums, advance your professional knowledge through training and education, strategically apply for right-fit opportunities, and deliberately perform one-on-one networking (versus spamming your entire network).
4. Avoid social media. It's a waste of time. Any activity, if pursued randomly, can be wasteful, but social media is a good-to-have for your career. The truth is, folks are getting hired, regardless of lackadaisical social media involvement. The other truth is, some people's careers have skyrocketed simply because they took that first step into the social media fray and then ran with it. Despite the initial awkwardness on these venues, candidates strengthened social muscles over time and became fluid in offering value, sharing others' information as resources, creating visibility and buzz, and ultimately landing interviews for that next great position.
5. Guerilla your way to success. Muscling your way to the top with unconventional marketing techniques is not always advisable. While the occasional news story sings praises to the needle-in-the-haystack occurrence of guerilla tactic success, for the most part, standing out in a job search is more about knowing how to convey your value through more professional behavior.
6. The early bird gets the worm. Rapid response doesn't necessarily secure an advantage in landing a new job. In fact, while others are scrambling to pull together a haphazard resume portfolio to jump through hoops, it is likely your thoughtful, strategic portfolio will draw in that hiring decision-maker and nab that next interview.
7. No one hires during the holidays. Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year's and other notable holidays are not reasons for hiring decision makers to shut down operations and stop recruiting new, contributing employees. While interviewing processes may be disrupted a bit by holiday parties and family gatherings, bosses, recruiters, and human resources professionals still have talent voids to fill, budgets to use, and profits to capture, even in November and December.
8. Sending a cover letter with your resume is a waste of time. It is widely known that not all cover letters are read. Sometimes recruiters, hiring decision makers, and HR pros simply skim your resume and move on. However, for those people who DO find value in a cover letter, the omission of said document will negatively impact their opinion of your application. Why miss an opportunity based on over-generalized assumptions?
9. Believing job-search advice that include the words "easy" or "simple." Bottom line: job search is hard work, but it is rewarding and, over time, you will see long-term gains for your immediate sweat and tears. Don't give up; at the same time, don't rush success.
10. Don't bother searching for a job in another area of the country (or world), especially in a down economy. The truth is, a long-distance job search is more challenging. However, it can be done. For example, you may need to invest in planned, specific trips to your destination, and then schedule interview meetings ahead of time to maximize your travel outlay. More rigorous than landing a job locally, a long-distance job search means you can anticipate investing more time, resources, and money to ensure achieving your goals.
Invest your time in job-search by reading expert advice that is pragmatic and hopeful in tone, and let your common sense be your guide. If a tip seems too easy, then it probably is; if it sounds preposterous, then it just may be; if it reads as a dictatorial assertion, then you may want to run. As in most things in life, job-search rules are generally colored in shades of gray.
Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter is a Glassdoor career and workplace expert, chief career writer and partner with CareerTrend, and is one of only 28 Master Resume Writers (MRW) globally. Jacqui and her husband, "Sailor Rob," host a lively careers-focused blog at http://careertrend.net/blog. Jacqui is a power Twitter user (@ValueIntoWords), listed on several "Best People to Follow" lists for job seekers.