You’ve probably read an article and had that panicked feeling. “Oh no!” you think. “I just sent a thank you note and this article says that hiring managers hate thank you notes.” Or, perhaps, a friend has told you that you need an infographic resume to compete. “What in the heck am I supposed to do with the resume I just spent days perfecting?” you ask yourself. Take a breath. You’re okay.
When it comes right down to it, there are a lot of people vying for your attention. So the more against-the-grain – or even outlandish – the idea, the better. I am not saying that some of the following points aren’t rooted in fact, just that they have either been grossly inflated or far too broadly applied.
Here is just a sampling of some of the purported “changes” to the job search and employment landscape that have been clogging up the Internet over the last few months.
Companies no longer accept resumes – A few months back, I read an article about a San Francisco creative firm that did not accept resumes. One firm. That article spawned several weeks of articles about how companies were eschewing resumes and instead only paying attention to “social” resumes – candidates’ presence on social media. Rest assured that this is not a trend. Companies are more and more likely to weigh your “social resume,” but that doesn’t mean the resume is going anywhere.
No one reads cover letters – This one comes up a lot and is a classic example of over-inflating the preferences of a few. There are definitely hiring managers and recruiters who will not read your cover letter. However, there are plenty of others that will see your cover letter as an opportunity to learn more about your qualifications and motivations. In fact, as companies are trying to maximize every dollar by hiring the best fit – the cover letter has taken on a new importance. And it's often a key tie-breaker when comparing final candidates.
You will be removed from the running if you send a Thank You note – I wrote a post about this a few months back because it just seemed so counter to the prevailing sentiment. There are several arguments against sending a thank you note – none of which hold much weight. As I shared in that post, I maintain that a thank you letter is a key part of the job search process.
Employers are requiring that you provide passwords to your social media accounts – This has been ALL over the Internet lately and has even resulted in calls for federal inquiries into the practice. The truth, it turns out, is that this is based on the actions of just one company. Privacy is important, and the concern that employers are overstepping their bounds is valid. But outside of Intelligence and other highly-sensitive positions, this is not nearly as widespread as it has been reported to be. There is value in the conversation, though. Most of us have a lot of information about ourselves out there. As a general rule, if you don’t want everyone – including employers – to know something, it doesn’t belong on the Internet.
The job search process is nerve-racking enough without the addition misinformation and disinformation. It’s no wonder that people feel overwhelmed.
Let’s be honest, things are changing. But take some comfort in the fact that some basic tenets of the job search process still hold true. Thank you notes are not bad, cover letters still make a difference and you will not have to create a diorama or original song to get your next job.