7 outdated job hunting tips that are (seriously) hurting your chances

Do resumes really matter anymore?

Just eight months ago, I found myself trying to leave a toxic job situation. While interviewing for dozens of companies, I began to notice how little they cared about my resume.

People were far more interested in my writing on Medium, my personal brand, and my experiences in the real world. 

They wanted to know how I worked.

They wanted to know if I was curious.

They wanted to know if I could lead a project.

They didn’t want to know how many buzzwords I could jam onto a sheet of paper. 

If you want to get a job in today’s economy, you have to be willing to get a little creative. The days of paying a writer to polish your resume and cover letter are over.

Here are a few other outdated job hunting tips that are seriously holding you back. 

1. LinkedIn easy apply

This may be the worst tool ever invented. Sure, it’s great to feel like you accomplished something when you hit “apply” to fifteen jobs in fifteen minutes while watching Netflix.

But in my experience, companies that actually contact you through LinkedIn Easy Apply are desperate. And every single one of my peers who use Easy Apply as their main job searching strategy is, well, still searching.

Don’t shortcut your future.

2. Sending a standard resume

I truly believe the traditional resume is dying. Unfortunately, you still need one (at least as a courtesy). Another issue many job applicants face is creating a standard resume that they send to everyone.

As Tonya Echols of Thrive Coaching Solutions told Forbes, “It is now important to customize your resume for each job to highlight the skills and experience that are in alignment with the specific requirements of the position.”

Echols notes that your resume may be handled by artificial intelligence (AI) searching for keywords and phrases. If your resume reads like everyone else’s, it may never be seen by human eyes.

3. Toning down your personality

My cover letter was a winding story about how I came up with a professional “catchphrase.” Why? Because that’s how I think. I don’t want to tone down my personality in an interview because I don’t want to tone down my personality in a job.

If you feel like you don’t fit in with the company culture over a phone interview, you probably aren’t going to enjoy heading into work every day.

Don’t be afraid to be genuine. 

4. Leading with your GPA

This is simple. As Nicolas Cole, founder of Digital Press, said about his own hiring process, “I don’t care where you went to college. I don’t care what your GPA was. I don’t care what other jobs you’ve held.

Those things can certainly help give me a vague idea of who you are, but the key word there is vague. It doesn’t really do much for me in terms of making a decision as to whether or not you’re someone worth hiring.” Having a great GPA certainly won’t hurt you. But don’t make it your selling point. 

5. Ignoring your personal brand

What is the first thing you do when meeting someone new? If you’re like me, it’s probably looking them up online. Managers interested in hiring you will do the same thing. It’s time to start carving out your spot online and taking control of your professional narrative.

When I started applying for jobs, I cleaned up my social media channels, produced as many blogs as possible, and worked on my website’s SEO. Instead of simply telling people that I was passionate about marketing, I could send them links to blogs talking about the state of the industry.

This positioned me as an expert while proving that I am invested in my career personally and professionally. 

6. Being “strictly business”

Add people on LinkedIn. Read their company blog. Interact with the brand on social media. Whoever tells you otherwise is wrong. There is an invisible barrier that many job seekers think separates them from their potential employer.

Breaking this barrier in any way is “unprofessional.” Guess what? I connected with plenty of employees on social media and used it to my advantage. I would look at their blog and see the type of content they posted, and then write a personal blog in that same style.

Leverage anything you can and move away from the mindset of strictly business relationships when applying for a job. 

7. Using job search boards

Job boards are frustrating for employers and candidates. Employers often receive hundreds of applications from unqualified individuals, bots, and people mass applying to jobs.

Job seekers are competing with a resume database that doesn’t always produce results. No matter how finely you par down the search query, job results matching what you want are lukewarm at best. Job boards simply aren’t a cutting-edge idea anymore. 

Finding a job in 2020 requires personality, creativity, and dedication to the search. Avoid the outdated job-hunting tips mentioned above and focus on being a person that others want to work with. Good luck!