6 Job Search Rules You Should Stop Following Now

two colleagues shaking hands during a meeting at work
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The pandemic has changed the way we think about most everything, including our careers. After months and months of economic tumult, Americans are quitting their jobs en masse, causing what has been dubbed The Great Resignation. There are various reasons as to why folks are deserting their posts, with many describing a desire for more flexible hours and remote options and frustration over the impossibility of juggling a work-life balance in their current role.

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As folks leave jobs that no longer meet their criteria, they’re switching over to new, presumably better jobs that can more effectively meet their evolving needs. This means that — unless they have a job lined up — they’re on the market, actively looking for a new gig. And that means they’ll need to brush up their resume, up their networking game and do all the other tasks associated with landing a new position.

Over the years, society has ingrained in job seekers a number of “must follow” rules for searching for a job, but many of them no longer hold up. GOBankingRates consulted a number of jobs experts to learn which pieces of job search advice prospective employees should no longer adhere to — and what they should do instead.

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 Your Resume Must Be One Page

“There’s an outdated rule that your resume must be one page,” said Chelsey Opare-Addo, chief resume writer, Not Your Mother’s Resume. “This originated when printing resumes was commonplace. Now that resumes are rarely printed, job seekers can opt for a one- to three-page resume.”

However, if you are entry level, it is best to keep your resume to one page; three-page resumes should be reserved for executive-level professionals.

“The one-page limitation would force job seekers to squeeze their career history onto a crowded page, while the more modern guideline is centered around conciseness,” Opare-Addo said. “Although there’s no limitation, it’s best to keep your resume concise and relevant, focusing on high-level accomplishments rather than the nitty gritty details.”

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List Every Job You’ve Ever Had on Your Resume

“Sharing the last 10-15 years of work experience on your resume is generally enough unless the job requires more experience than that,” said Toni Frana, career coach and team lead at FlexJobs. “Instead of including all of your career history, focus instead on the most recent experience you do have, illustrating your accomplishments and results to paint a more vivid picture of why you are a great fit for the role.”

It’s a Numbers Game: Apply for as Many Jobs as Possible

Blasting out your resume to as many jobs as possible is tempting when you’re growing desperate, but it’s not the best approach.

“I call this bad advice, as it is a hit or miss tactic — and leads to more frustration than success,” said Abhijeet Narvekar, CEO of the career management platform Career Unleashed. “Instead, apply some strategy for your search. Learn how to use your network properly. Learn how to ask them to help you get introductions. Target companies you want to work for. A proper search strategy will get you the jobs faster.”

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Apply Through the Online Portal

“HR managers are not always the best recruiters, and they may pass right over you if you’re applying to your dream job through an online portal,” said Rob Barnett, executive headhunter and author of “Next Job, Best Job: A Headhunter’s 11 Strategies to Get Hired Now.” “Take the time to find out exactly who the hiring manager is for the role you’re applying for before you consider … crafting a cover letter to Mrs. or Mr. Generic. LinkedIn, Google and the present company website(s) are the obvious first places to start putting on your detective gear and finding out who’s making the first-level decision in the places where you want to apply. Every time you can get more direct information about the company and the hiring manager, you’ll have 1000% better odds.”

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Always Wear a Suit to an Interview

“Wearing a suit isn’t always required anymore; however, it is important to have an understanding of the company in order to make the decision on what to wear to an interview,” Frana said. “Do some research on the company, look at the company website to see if there are pictures of the employees so you can note what they are wearing.”

Frana added that it’s always better to be too dressy than too casual, and if you’re conducting a job interview on Zoom, take that into account. “For example, solids are better than prints, darker colors may show up better on video, and in terms of jewelry, less is more,” Frana said.

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Improve Your Interview Skills

“I’d reframe this to ‘work on your conversation skills,'” said Darcy Eikenberg, professional certified coach, leadership career coach and the author of “Red Cape Rescue: Save Your Career Without Leaving Your Job.” “The forced ping-pong game of classic interviewing doesn’t work in today’s world of work, and yet too many people — interviewers and interviewees alike — fall into this lazy trap.”

Eikenberg recommends disrupting the pattern by being curious and asking the interviewer questions during the interview, just as you would a colleague during a conversation.

“For example, if you’re asked, ‘Tell me about a time you had to deal with XYZ situation,’  answer the question with your story, and then add, ‘I’m curious — how does XYZ situation show up most often in this role?’ This works to disrupt the brain pattern, and when we disrupt the pattern, we create memorable experiences and allow the other person to reconnect to the situation at hand,” Eikenberg said. “Creating better, more insightful conversations allows you to stand out, be remembered and get hired.”

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About the Author

Nicole Spector is a writer, editor, and author based in Los Angeles by way of Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in Vogue, the Atlantic, Vice, and The New Yorker. She's a frequent contributor to NBC News and Publishers Weekly. Her 2013 debut novel, "Fifty Shades of Dorian Gray" received laudatory blurbs from the likes of Fred Armisen and Ken Kalfus, and was published in the US, UK, France, and Russia — though nobody knows whatever happened with the Russian edition! She has an affinity for Twitter.

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