Four Breakable Rules for Job Searches

January 12th, 2013 by lewis

We have a guest post from Erik Larson.  Erik is a Career Management Practitioner (CMP) by the Institute for Career Certification International. He is also a National Certified Counselor (NCC) through the National Board for certified Counselors.

As a job seeker, you may have heard of several rules for job searches that must always be followed. These rules have remained unchanged for generations, even though everything else about job hunts has changed in the meantime.

Some of these include keeping a resume size limited to a page, not calling back to check on a resume application, and many more. For some people, following these rules work out well. However, for most people out there looking for success, breaking some of these rules may prove to be more effective than following them.

Given below are some rules that can be broken by those who want to do something different and unique:

The ‘no calls’ rule

This rule states that no calls must be made by applicants to check on the status of their resume. This rule works for recruiters who do not have the time to answer calls from every applicant. Today, however, there are other options available for applicants to ‘call’ recruiters. For example, they can use LinkedIn to find anyone you know within the company. You can then call and request them instead of the HR personnel.

Emails can still get ignored and accidentally deleted, even if they include an application from a promising candidate. You can use other resources as well to directly or indirectly contact the HR staff to find out what has happened with your application.

The ‘move on’ rule

This rule dictates that you should move on to the next job once you have been passed over for a current job offer. However, the modern version of this rule needs some changes. You must first avoid taking the company off your list once and for all.

Check back about the job with your contacts after a month to see if everything worked out fine. Sometimes situations can arise where your application can be reconsidered, but you need to be there to remind them about your application for that to happen. Maintain relationships within the company and do not lose all hope of finding an opportunity there.

The ‘apply for as many jobs as possible’ rule

This rule is more dangerous than useful in the current environment of targeted and focused resumes. As such, this rule is meant to be ignored completely rather than bent or broken. Instead of applying for the maximum number of jobs as you can, you should think up a clear strategy to help you target a smaller number of positions for which you are really qualified.

Make 2-3 customized resumes for each position, and lower your options to a few select companies and industries only. One of the biggest advantages of this kind of targeted and limited job search approach is that you get to know about advertised jobs as well as non-posted ones.

The recruiter rule

According to this rule, job applicants can stand a better chance at getting selected for a job if they go through recruiters. In reality, however, moving to an open position through a recruiter is just an indirect approach since the recruiters often work for the employer. The better way to improve the efficiency of your job search is to define a strategy, focus on certain industries, functions, and jobs, and refine your pitch and improve your network.

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2 Responses to “Four Breakable Rules for Job Searches”

  1. March 21, 2013 at 2:52 pm, Laura said:

    I can only see four rules?

    • March 21, 2013 at 3:43 pm, lewis said:

      Good catch. I’ve updated the title.