In a recent Forbes post, I advised against asking a friend to submit your resume and shared eight better things to ask for instead. A referral is a good thing in general but asking for a referral too soon is not. Some of these job search rules-of-thumb are best ignored, unless you know how to appropriately apply them. Here are four other job search tips commonly shared that you may want to disregard:
Job Search Myth: Follow up with the recruiter to move the process along
Yes, you want to follow up with the recruiter, and yes, it can help to move the process along. However, if the process slows down, such that you’ll need to follow up for several weeks to stay front of mind, don’t ask about the process after one, maybe two inquiries. You need to make your follow up about something other than process, or else you’ll come across as a nag and perhaps desperate. A more complete tip would be to plan your follow up – it may be just fine to try and move the process along, or you may want to connect on a different topic altogether.
Job Search Myth: If you spent less than a year on the job, just omit it from your resume
If you have one short stint, maybe you want to omit it. But a short stint isn’t necessarily bad, so omitting it might remove useful information. Furthermore, if you have several short stints and stick faithfully to this rule, your resume chronology will soon look like swiss cheese. A more complete tip would be to consider omitting a short stint from your resume, and to weigh the pros and cons for your specific situation.
Job Search Myth: Always dress up for an interview
You definitely want to be polished and professional but that doesn’t always mean dressing up. When a senior candidate interviewed at an e-retailer, his suit was overdressed for the environment and underscored how he came from a more traditional, brick-and-mortar company. A more complete tip is to dress appropriately for an interview, where appropriate is determined by where you are interviewing, not any one standard.
Job Search Myth: Do not share a salary number
There is a widespread rumor that whoever shares the first number in a salary negotiation always loses, but that’s just not true. Whoever speaks first anchors the negotiation, so if a company was planning to low-ball you and you speak first with a much higher number, then they know they’ll have to negotiate hard to drive your salary down or maybe they just won’t low-ball you. This is one example of when sharing a salary number isn’t a bad idea. A more complete tip is to research thoroughly the market value for the role you’re discussing, get comfortable with asking for that range (or higher!), and be willing to share your number if you feel it would help move the negotiation to where you want it to be.
I’ve given the above pieces of advice myself, so I’m not saying these tips are incorrect — they are often quoted for a reason. But there is no one-size-fits-all in the job search. Hiring is a human-to-human interaction, so you always want to consider your specific situation before applying any tip or strategy, no matter how practical or powerful it seems.