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7 Job hunting lessons to unlearn

Rachel Burge for

Job seekers are given all kinds of advice, some of it useful and some of it not so. In fact, some could even be holding you back. Here are seven lessons to unlearn.

1. You must apply for at least 20 jobs a week

Job seekers are often advised to make looking for work a full-time job but thinking this way can backfire for several reasons.

'Most job applications should be taking you several hours to complete because they need to be tailored every time,' says David Shindler, performance coach and author of 'Learning To Leap'.

'It's far better to do two or three really well than send out a generic CV and letter that doesn't impress anyone. Spend time networking, volunteering or doing work experience and you're likely to feel more positive about work, and who knows, it might lead to a useful connection that opens the door to a job.'

2. Most jobs are in large organisations

Think that most jobs are in big companies? Think again. Limit yourself to approaching the big employers in your area and you could be missing out on the perfect role.

'The employment market is very diverse and different sectors, industries and types of organisations are in different stages of health, says David. 'For example, in the private sector, 99.9% of companies have less than 50 employees and most have less than 10 staff.

'Think about how you can create your own job by offering your services to a small business. What can you do that they would really value? Common needs include managing their social media, creating content for websites and carrying out research projects. Make yourself invaluable and they may take you on permanently.'

3. Avoid talking about salary

Job seekers were once advised to avoid talking about salary but many recruiters and hiring managers will want to know what your salary expectations are early on.

'These days the salary conversation often comes up sooner in the process than a second interview,' says Clare Whitmell who blogs on careers at

'While it's OK to suggest a salary range, don't be surprised if they offer you the lowest figure. If you want to defer the salary question, say you need to find out more about what the job involves and its responsibilities. Just be prepared for the question and make sure you have a figure in mind - that way you're less likely to blurt out a number you later come to regret.'

4. Don't contact the company again if you don't get the job

If you're rejected for the job, you might feel like never talking to the company again - but there are good reasons to keep the lines of communication open.

'Always ask for feedback - it could prove invaluable at your next interview,' says Clare. 'Just remember that the hiring manager is under no obligation to give you feedback, so make sure you ask them nicely! Keep the conversation professional and positive and don't forget to say thank you at the end - even if you don't agree with what they said.

'Build a relationship with the company and they're more likely to remember you the next time a suitable role comes up - or of course, if the first candidate doesn't work out.'

5. You don't need an online presence to get a job

You might describe yourself as a technophobe or may think Twitter is for losers - but turning your back on modern technology could seriously restrict your chances of getting a job.

'For some specialist roles like engineering or a particular trade, you certainly don't need a personal blog, but being on LinkedIn can help you connect with people and jobs in your chosen field,' says David.

'For other jobs like in marketing, PR and the creative industries, it's almost obligatory to have an online presence. Whether you like it or not, employers and recruiters are increasingly using technology to scan your online reputation as part of the process. If they can't find you, you may get excluded. If they can find you, ensure your digital footprint is professional.'

6. Job boards are the best place to find a job

Online job boards are a great place to start your job search, but don't leave it there.

'Most jobs are not advertised so it's not enough to simply search job ads,' warns David. 'Instead, put the majority of your effort into creating and implement a networking strategy, online and face-to-face. Talk to real people by phone or go and see them.

'Make a list of the top 10 local companies you would love to work for and arrange informational interviews to find out what working there would really be like. Engage with employers, build relationships and you're more likely to get noticed when an opportunity comes up.'

7. I'm a [insert as appropriate] type of person

Sometimes unlearning the things we've come to believe about ourselves can make the biggest difference.

'How you see yourself on the inside is likely to come across to interviewers, so it's always worth doing a bit of soul searching,' says Clare.

'Ask a trusted colleague whose opinion you value to describe your strengths and weaknesses and how you come across. You might be surprised at how other people view you. Challenge self-limiting beliefs like 'I'm no good at selling' and be open to change. Just because an ex-manager once gave you a particular label doesn't mean you're that person now.'

Book Link
Learning to Leap: A guide to being more employable by David Shindler

Image: © nruboc -

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