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8 Old-School Career Tips You Can (Largely) Ignore Now

old-school career tips

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The modern workplace has changed significantly in recent years, with the COVID-19 pandemic accelerating a transition to remote or hybrid work and inspiring, at least in part, The Great Resignation.  As a result of these and other socioeconomic trends, some formerly tried-and-true job search advice has, well, gone stale. So here are eight old-school career tips you can (largely) ignore now. 

1. Stay at the Same Job as Long as You Can

Job-hopping has, in many ways, become the new normal. According to research from IBM’s Institute for Business Value, one in five employees voluntarily changed employers in 2020, and one in four employees was looking to make a move in 2021.

Tangible benefits are helping to drive this Great Resignation. Per Pew Research, 60% of workers who switched jobs from April 2021 to March 2022 saw an increase in their true earnings over the same month the previous year — despite inflation. And, with the decline of traditional pensions, there’s less incentive to spend a long time in any given role. 

“Recruiters and hiring managers recognize that the benefits of staying at the same company for five, 10, or 20-plus years are virtually non-existant, so few will reject candidates based on a short stint or two on their resumes,” Kyle Elliott, career coach and founder of CaffeinatedKyle.com, explains. “Now, you should stay at your employer as long as you are valued and happy. Once you no longer feel a sense of satisfaction, consider if it’s time to begin looking for a new job.”

2. Avoid Resume Gaps

It’s still a job candidate’s market — meaning there are more jobs and fewer people to do them — so companies are increasingly looking for ways to attract top talent. In some industries, these efforts equate to higher compensation packages, but companies are also re-evaluating work-life balance and introducing new mental health and wellness benefits to appeal to Gen Z and millennial workers.    

As an extension of this trend, recruiters and hiring managers have become increasingly understanding of resume gaps. 

“More often than not, if you have a decent reason for the gap, the companies don’t care anymore,” Elisa Pineda, senior recruiter at Forage, says. “And really anything can be a good reason.”

3. Job Hunting Is a Numbers Game

It may seem like the best way to secure a new job is to apply to every seemingly relevant posting you find. But, these days, that propensity can seriously impact the quality of your applications and increase the odds of landing a job you ultimately find unsatisfying. 

“It is actually way more effective to do a perfect job of applying to five-to-seven positions a week vs. lobbing your resume at 50 jobs a week,” Donna Shannon, president of Personal Touch Career Services, says. “When you take your time, you can research the company and the position to tweak your resume to fit the specific job.”

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4. Keep Your Resume to One Page

A one-page resume is the standard operating procedure if you’re an entry-level candidate, but as your experience grows, so can your resume. 

“For most professionals, you need space to describe your experience, add your achievements, describe your personality, and match 70% of the job description’s keywords to get past the screening computers,” Shannon says. “It is practically impossible to do all of that well in just one page.”

Learn how long your resume should be

5. Soft Skills Won’t Make a Difference

In fact, if you’re an entry-level or internship candidate with little-to-no experience, soft skills — non-technical skills like communication, adaptability, and analytical thinking — can make all the difference in securing a role. In this case, employers are looking, first and foremost, for transferable experience that will prove valuable in the position. 

But soft skills are also vital as you start to move up company org charts.   

“I particularly look for candidates who can be both leaders and team players, and whose flexibility allows them to wear many hats,” Kathy Hinkle, a recruiter at tech company Sentient Digital, Inc., says. “While these skills may have been downplayed in the past, that view is outdated and we need employees who bring these skills to the modern workplace.”

Learn more about soft skills and how to highlight them on your resume. 

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6. Wear a Suit to Your Job Interview

Gone are the days when you must wear formal clothes to every interview. 

In fact, “if you’re applying for a job in a non-formal industry, like a sound tech job for a touring rock band, dressing up could actually make you seem like a bad fit for the position,” Aaron Case, career counselor and Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) at Resume Genius, says. “Just don’t show up to a business job interview in a T-shirt and shorts, and if you’re ever in doubt, email the hiring manager and ask if there’s a dress code for the interview.”

We’ve got more tips for how you can determine what to wear for an interview.

7. Hide Your Weaknesses

These days, if an employer asks during an interview about your weaknesses, they genuinely want to hear about one.  

“No one expects you to be perfect, and a little honesty shows interviewers you’re not a narcissist who can’t see your own flaws,” Case says.

Of course, there’s still an art to candidly discussing your areas of opportunity as employers are looking for signs that you want to learn and grow. 

“If you do share a weakness, it’s always a good idea to point out things you’re doing to overcome your shortcomings,” Case says. “For example, if you call attention to your lack of organizational skills, note how you’ve found productivity software or taking time at the end of the day to organize your work for the next day useful.”

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8. Cast a Wide Network

OK, so the idea here isn’t that networking is bad. However, what constitutes effective networking has changed. 

“Just showing up at events and stabbing people with your business card will not get a job,” Shannon says. “Just taking a job because a friend of a friend told you about it leads to a haphazard career instead of the targeted job search. Instead, you need to do strategic networking based on your real goals.”

There are also more new channels for networking, including LinkedIn groups, sub-Reddits, and virtual networking events. Learn more effective ways to network.

Image credit: wavebreakmedia / Depositphotos.com

Jeanine Skowronski has served as the Head of Content at Forage, Managing Editor at Red Ventures, Head of Content at Policygenius, and Executive Editor of Credit.com.

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