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JBCStyle | Top Ten | Looking for a New Job? Break The Rules, Get Results

There’s a process involved in the hunt for a new job.  To start, you finesse your resumé.  Next, the cover letter is crafted and the resumé is dispatched via an online application, email, a postal service or by hand.  The latter methods are almost extinct.

Now what?  Wait a few days to follow up?  Maybe you score an interview; there are rules for that too.  Keeping up with the rules can be exhausting.  Sometimes it doesn’t hurt to break the rules and who says that’s a bad thing?  As times have changed, veering away from the norm could prove beneficial in today’s job market.

Our new rebel approach was inspired by Alison Green’s article for U.S.News & World Report: “10 Job Search Rules to Break.”

1. Your resumé does not have to be condensed to one page.  If you have the experience and the background to justify expanding your resumé, go for it.  A one-pager will suffice if you are an entry-level canidate; but if you feel the need to venture to page two or three to display all you have to offer, this rule is worth breaking.  Your only other option is to use a six-point font and that is NOT recommended.

2. Write as if you are speaking to a real person.  Because you are.  If you use a thesaurus to fluff up your resumé and cover letter, we suggest going back to the original words you typed.  The person reading your documents will not be impressed with fancy words and numerous syllables.  They want to get to know you and the best way is through your words.  Remember, honesty, grammar and structure are key in regards to quality.

3. Ditch the objective.  Our entire team of recruiters will agree, including an objective on a resumé is outdated and irrelevant.  Obviously your objective is to be the best candidate for the role in which you are applying.  Why waste valuable space reiterating your intentions?  Replace with career highlights or a skills summary if you insist on an introduction.  Another option, get straight to the point and lead with your experience.

4. Education comes last.  Relevance.  Relevance.  Relevance.  Employers are first and foremost interested in your work experience.  Your achievements and professional background carry more weight on your resumé and will be the deciding factor on whether or not you are considered for the job.  Growing up, education came first.  Now that you’re an adult, on the resume, education comes last.

5. Don’t include “references available upon request” on the bottom of your resuméThis is a rule from a time long ago.  If the employer want references, they will ask.  They don’t need permission via a formal statement.

6. After you submit your resumé, email or call to follow up, not to schedule an interview.  Unfortunately, submitting your resumé doesn’t guarantee an interview.  You may think you are perfect for the job but many factors may prove otherwise.  For instance, the employer may have already started interviewing, the job may be on hold or someone may have been promoted from within.  On the other hand, it’s perfectly fine to email or call to ensure your email/mail was received.

7. Don’t be afraid to reap the benefits of a recruiting agency.  Despite what you may have heard, recruiting agencies don’t just work for the employers.  A respectable agency also has the best interests of their candidates in mind.  After all, placing talented individuals in roles in which they are qualified is a reflection of the agency.  If you’re looking for an edge, find an agency that caters to your expertise.  You’ll find there are jobs out there that are not advertised on job boards or on the company’s website. 

8. Your weakness is not a positive.  Just answer the question.  Honestly.  Everyone has a weakness and although it’s admirable you’ve triumphed by finding the positive in a negative, the employer is interested in an example that represents your abilities.  Think of a weakness as an incident in which you have overcome and explain how.  For example, your weakness could be you have a hard time prioritizing and you’ve overcome this by requiring yourself to make a weekly schedule and stick to it.  Then, you can elaborate on your results.

9. It’s okay to talk money. The online application process has been a game-changer in the job market.  Part of the application process may include naming your salary range in order to submit your application.  Be prepared to talk money by researching the salary range of comparable positions in your geographical area.  Don’t be afraid that naming your salary requirements will result in underselling or overselling yourself and cost you a job offer.  If you’ve accurately researched your field, you and the employer should be on the same page.

10. Perseverance can come off as being too aggressive or trying too hard.  True, employers want to know you are determined in your pursuit; but only to a certain extent.  When it becomes obvious to the employer that you would do anything to get the job, it can be misinterpreted as desperation which will trigger the employer to ask, “Why is this person trying so hard?”  A tip from Green, “treat the interview as a collaborative process where you’re both concerned with finding the right fit.”