Once you've started your job search you will find that everyone has advice for you. Some tips will be very valuable, others you don't need to worry about. Here are a few pieces of advice you may hear from people that you should ignore:
- Forget the cover letter; it is outdated. Not always. Do we read them at Fanning? Not so much. Do some of our client companies require them? Yes! It never hurts to have a cover letter template ready to go. A job ad will normally say if one is required. So when you sit down to prepare your resume, write up a quick letter that you can easily tweak to fit different jobs.
- Schedule a face to face meeting. If you are going to work for a company, then of course you will meet with the people there face to face. However, this day in age, it's not always step one. If the process begins with a phone interview or an online interview, don't shy away from the role. These methods of introduction are very common.
- Use linen paper or formal stationary. Remember going out and buying that fancy paper for your resume? It's not really necessary anymore. By the time you hand a physical copy of your resume to someone, they've already seen it online or via email. It is okay to ditch the premium paper stock, but please do remember to print enough copies of your resume for an interview! The interviewer may not have had a chance to do so yet.
- References available upon request. Those four words are no longer needed. If anything they are wasting a valuable line of space on your resume. Delete them and replace them with content that will catch a recruiter's eye.
- Use buzzwords. For this one, it is important to differentiate between buzzwords and keywords. Keywords are necessary. You must match certain words on your resume to those in the description – it is basic SEO. However, we've reached the point where certain buzzwords (either on your resume or said during an interview) are meaningless. Are you a 'results-driven go-getter' or a 'highly motivated team player'? Yes? So is everyone else! Let's try to mix it up.
- Turn a weakness into a strength. Yes, you always want to put a positive spin on your weakness. But that doesn't mean saying "I'm a perfectionist" or "I'm just too nice". Find something that you noticed as a weakness and explain steps you are taking fix it. You want to show the interviewer that you are not only self-aware but also capable of identifying problems and developing solutions.