3 Things That Don’t Get You The Job (Yes, Those Self-Help Books Are Lying)

Black woman holding resume

The job hunt can sometimes seem like climbing Mount Everest. You find yourself wondering, where’s the top of this thing? How do I get there? Will I survive this journey? Are we still not at the top yet?! It can be incredibly confusing, especially when you have so many HR professionals pushing differing perspectives on how to get a job. As a person who has read more self-help books and articles about job hunting than the average person can stand, I’ve come to realize some of the advice these professionals give just doesn’t cut it. Without further ado, here are 3 things that will NOT get you the job.

Sending ‘Thank You Notes’ and all those other little extras

While it’s always a good look to show manners, these things rarely make or break whether you will receive further consideration as a candidate. I have no idea why these self-help gurus give this way more credit in the hiring process than it deserves. When I started this journey, I too fell for the okiedoke. I would drive myself crazy trying to remember to send thank you notes, follow-ups or whatever gracious correspondence I could send in hopes to gain an opportunity to restate my interest. Honestly, the last five job offers that I received, did not involve any post-interview correspondence. In fact, the last five job offers I received were either on the spot or within 1 business day of the interview. What does that tell you? When they want you, THEY WANT YOU.

Finding out who the Interviewer/Hiring Manager is beforehand and research them too, so you can “connect” (aka social engineering)

Yes, I’ve seen this in books and articles. Yes, I even tried “connecting” over a mutual interest. And by connecting, I mean, mentioning something I knew would be of the interviewer’s interest to make a connection. Once, it actually worked. Coincidentally, that was one of the worst work environments I ever experienced. I don’t recommend researching for the purpose of “connecting”. Why? It’s manipulative. Instead, use that resourcefulness to research the company’s culture and dynamics. Ask the right questions of your interviewer(s) to ensure that the team and work environment is not toxic, you’ll have the support to grow and develop professionally as well as the opportunity to advance. Don’t forget that just as much as a company is interviewing you for the best fit, you’re interviewing them too.

“Targeting” the Resume to Each Job You Apply To

HR professionals always say the same thing, target your resume to each job you apply to with keywords from the job posting, so that applicant tracking systems can flag your resume for hiring managers or recruiters to see. But in a world where you often have to send out at least 20-30 resumes while job hunting to even get a single call back, who has time for that? Not to mention, hiring managers and recruiters are hip to the game and are often skeptical of resumes that match the job posting’s keywords a little too perfectly. Instead, target a position within an industry and tailor your resume to that. Be sure to use keywords that will typically be the same across job postings. This will come across as more authentic and you won’t have to keep editing the resume for each and every job you apply to.

While thank you notes, follow ups, research and targeted resumes could be a good look, it’s not going to drastically tip the odds in your favor. The truth is if they want you, they want you. That doesn’t mean you should throw your manners or professionalism out of the window, but it does mean you don’t have to stress over those things. You can focus on the more important aspects of job hunting to get ahead in the game.  

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