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…For Someone, But it Could Work for You Anyway

When starting a job search, most job seekers head to the internet as a starting point for tips and advice on what they should and should not be doing: what job boards to utilize, which networks to join, how to structure their resume, what to put in a cover letter, and so forth.

The internet can be a great resource, as well as career coaches, recruiters, employment centers, and tapping into your own network.  But, there are two major flaws in any type of advice a job seeker seeks when trying to secure a new job.

The first is that any advice they receive comes from one point of view, that of the person giving it.  And, that point of view is influenced by giver’s own personal experience.  The second is that a job seeker’s willingness to listen and apply that advice is based off of one thing: their own personal experience.

The problem with the job search as a whole is that the entire experience is unique for every single person.  No two people have an identical background with the same career trajectory and every company has a different process, with each recruiter and hiring manager having their own bias on what they look for.

Add in these personal biases, and it can make the entire process feel exhausting for even the most sought after candidates.  All too often the advice a job seeker tries to apply may have worked very well for someone else, but is altogether wrong for what they’re trying to achieve.

Some people can go in unprepared to job interviews because they are great at thinking on their feet; others need to dedicate hours to preparing for each interaction.  Some recruiters love cover letters while others throw them in the garbage.  And, the resume tips alone can go from meticulous to absurd in a heartbeat.

The good news is that this same problem with the process is also your greatest asset if you tap into it.  The best thing you can do for yourself as a job seeker is to know yourself inside and out.  Knowing who you are, what you want, and what you’re willing to do to get a job will help inform you on what advice to take and what to put aside.

So the next time you’re reading about some hot new graphic resume trend, a unique email intro written in code, or about a clever marketing ploy like renting a billboard or sending a virtual handshake to a CEO, before you dive in head first thinking if someone else is doing it and it worked, I should try it, too, ask yourself if it makes sense for YOU.

Those people who tried these things did so because they knew what they wanted and developed creative ways to attract attention to their strengths.  The same principle can be applied to the smallest areas of your job search like what to highlight on a resume or what is important in your cover letter.

If the method doesn’t fit your personality, trying to pretend to be something you’re not may put you further away from your goals in your job search, and often filled with bitter disappointment.  But, don’t avoid stepping out of your comfort zone, either, to try new things until you figure out what works for you.

If something’s not working you have to be willing to adapt and change, but that’s all a part of knowing yourself and being honest with yourself when you hit a road block.  Don’t get stuck in a trap of not changing what you’re doing because you’re utilizing one person’s advice you trust or because you think there’s only one way.

Any job and career advice out there can work for you, if it fits with who you are and what you want (this includes not only your personal views and feelings but analyzing the industry, role, and culture you desire as well.)  You have to be willing to take the time first to figure out what those things are, before you can make anyone’s advice work for you.

So figure out who you are and what you want, and don’t be afraid to seek job search advice, just learn to trust yourself and your research in order to be successful in your job search.

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