After publishing over 75 blog posts in less than five months, we've thrown a LOT of information at you. You're certainly not short on advice about what to do and what not to do during every aspect of your job hunt. So now's a good time to test your knowledge and see how job-search savvy you really are.
The statements below are true or false. They're common-sense practices in the career sector, but are often overlooked or misunderstood by job seekers. Take a shot and see if your answers match!
- Your resume should be updated before you start looking at job openings.
- Cover letters are unnecessary.
- Bringing extra copies of your resume to the interview wastes paper - they should already have a copy anyway.
- The most qualified and most experienced candidate always gets the job.
- Your resume is all about you and what you want out of your next career opportunity.
- Researching a company before the interview is a good way to get a feel for its mission and goals.
- The best method to landing a new job is to create one standard cover letter and resume that you can send to several job openings at once.
- Starting salary is important, but it's best to avoid the subject until they bring it up first or you know they want to hire you.
- Adding "References Available upon Request" to your resume is outdated and no longer necessary.
- Keeping a record of what jobs you apply to for follow-up is a waste of time. If they're interested in you, they'll call.
Now for the answers:
- Correct! Er, I mean, trick question! We've mentioned before that you should keep your resume up to date at all times, even when you're not looking for a new job. But most people want to know that there's a job out there worth applying to before putting the time and effort into a resume. So in a nutshell, go with whatever works for you.
- False. We can't seem to argue this enough. Cover letters are, in fact, indispensable and completely necessary. A more detailed look at our reasons can be found here, here, and here.
- False. I'm not saying that saving paper is bad - long live the trees. But walking into an interview without a few extra copies of your resume screams "I'm unprepared!" Everyone involved in the interview should have a crisp, clean copy of your resume. Chances are you won't need them, but be prepared if you do.
- False. The truth is, the candidate who gets hired will be the one whose personality best fits in with the rest of the staff, even if their qualifications are a bit less "perfect" than another less likable candidate's.
- False. Yes, your resume is about you, but only as far as what you've done in the past and what you can do in the future. To dazzle the employer into extending an interview invitation, your resume needs to show that you understand their organization, explain what you can do for them, and demonstrate that your skills can help in the position you're applying for. (Most of this is done in the Summary of Qualifications or Professional Summary section).
- True. Do your homework. Going into an interview knowing nothing more than the organization's name and your desired position is unprofessional and wastes time. Don't make the interviewer explain the employer's history and goals; have a good grasp of them before you set foot in the door, so you can get down to explaining what a good fit you are.
- False. I know it's tedious and time consuming, but you still have to tailor each resume and cover letter specifically to each position you apply for. The shotgun approach of sending out a massive number of the same resume to see who bites is a surefire way to keep yourself out of the running.
- True. The salary topic is one of the most fragile parts of your job search. You give a number before they do - or give it too soon - and you lose negotiating leverage. Wait for them to speak first and you have a better chance of getting the salary you want from the get-go.
- True. If they want your references, they'll ask for them. 'Nough said.
- False. Following up on resume submissions is one of the most important steps you can take to land the job of your choice. It shows you're still interested in the position and that you know exactly what you're doing. Hiring managers appreciate that!
If most of your answers matched ours, then congratulations! You know what you're doing and you're bound to succeed in your job search. If you didn't do as well as you thought you would, that's OK too. You now have the basics down and you can work on improving your search techniques for a positive outcome.
How'd you do? Post your score or opinions below!