Looking for a job is stressful enough without everyone giving you unsolicited – and often – contradictory advice. The fact is times change and so has the modern-day job search.
“A lot of the old rules simply don’t apply,” said Trevor Blair, CEO at Blair Search Partners in San Diego.
Still, he said, too many people cling to these outdated customs as if they were career-defining gospel.
“It’s just old school thinking,” Blair added.
Unclear what’s expected and what’s not? Here is an up-to-date tutorial on job seeking 101.
The idea that you need a one-page résumé is about as outdated as the manual typewriter. For most recruiters, more is almost always more, Blair said. A clear chronological resume allows companies to quickly and easily scan your work history, making it easier to identify gaps and better understand your career trajectory.
“Even if you’ve only worked for a few years, it’s nearly impossible to keep your job duties, accomplishments and skills to one page or even two,” he said. “The only people that still want one-page résumé are Baby Boomers who are still living in a paper-based world.”
One thing that need not apply to your résumé, however, is an objective statement. With today’s technology, recruiters know what job you are applying so there’s no reason to add it to your résumé.
Bury the Cover Letter
Same goes for the much maligned, and often dreaded, cover letter. Since most people electronically submit their applications via email a cover letter is often times duplicative and unnecessary.
“Your email is your cover letter,” Blair said. “Attaching a cover letter in addition to your email just doesn’t make sense.”
There is one caveat, however. If you are applying through an online portal, your email might get lost in the electronic shuffle or the system might specifically request a cover letter. If that is the case, it is better to be safe than sorry, which means you must craft that eye-catching cover letter after all.
Thank You Noted
Some things never get old and that’s certainly the case with the handwritten thank-you note.
“If you want to set yourself apart, send a thank-you note. That’s because 99 percent of job seekers don’t do that anymore,” Blair said.
But remember the snail mail form of gratitude is in addition to, and not in lieu of, a prompt email directly after your interview.
“You need to do both,” Blair said. “But there’s nothing like a handwritten note to make a personal connection.”
Updated May 2020