Career transition is a phase that can be daunting. It’s hard to know where to start and what is the most appropriate way of finding a job. You may wonder if what you did 10 years ago to land a job is still relevant today.
I’ve worked with a lot of amazing people as they navigate the journey of transition. There are many misconceptions that I want to address. Although the time of transition can be challenging, I hope to offer some advice that can make it less threatening.
8 Common Misconceptions of a Job Search
- LinkedIn is my most powerful tool during job transition.
False. LinkedIn is a very helpful tool, but not your most powerful one.
Most of your LinkedIn connections don’t really know you. Unless you’ve worked on developing these relationships when you are not in transition, your LinkedIn connections won’t notice your post for networking help. LinkedIn is very helpful for expanding and nurturing your network, but don’t rely solely on it.
- I have nothing to offer others when I’m in transition.
False. You have skills that others don’t.
Think about what you are good at or what connections you have. For, example, you may be a good writer and have a strong network that you can share. You don’t have to do something for everyone you network with, but when you hear of a need and you know you can help, say so. Be creative. What comes naturally to you may be overwhelming to others. Your help, no matter how insignificant it may seem, can be a huge boost to someone else.
- My resume should list as many accomplishments as possible.
False. Organizations only care about the accomplishments that will benefit them.
Sure, organizations want to know that you’re well rounded, but during the 7 seconds the hiring manager is looking at your resume, he/she better see what you can do for them. If you’re applying for a financial position, your financial experience and industry keywords need to jump off the page. If it is buried under fluffy words and blocks of text, you will be passed over.
- If I want to work for a mission-driven company, it needs to be a non-profit.
False. Many for-profit organizations have branches that are very mission focused.
Clearly non-profits are mission-driven but many large corporations have significant departments dedicated to ‘give back’ programs. If you limit yourself to the non-profit space you will limit your opportunities. Do a little research into what organizations provide a give-back program that fit your passions.
- I should network with only CEOs and executive-level individuals to find an executive level job.
False. Anyone could be your link to your next job.
Everyone knows someone. No matter what level job you are seeking, you should not discount the value of networking with everyone you bump into. Your neighbor, plumber, child-care giver, or the person who cuts your hair–keep them all in the loop. The more people who really know you that are aware of your search, the greater your net is spread. Especially don’t overlook the power of a receptionist or administrative assistant who controls the schedule of the executive you want to meet.
- I should look for jobs only in the industry I am most familiar with.
False. Industries that are booming will have more opportunities and might have just the job you are looking for.
It’s great if you can find a job in your industry, but it’s worth thinking broader. Consider the explosive industries of healthcare or financial services. Check the websites of organizations in these areas and look for keywords that match with your skills and interests. Stretch beyond what you’re currently doing and consider something new. Contemplate how your skills align with the organization’s needs.
- The compensation package is the biggest factor when considering a job offer.
False. Sure, money is a significant piece of an offer but no amount of money is going to cover up a corporate culture that doesn’t work for you. You need to consider the organization beyond its revenue. If everyone you meet wears formal business attire and works in a closed-door office but you are more entrepreneurial, prefer casual dress, and exchanges in an open environment, talk about these differences during your interview.
At Centennial, we want to be sure the culture, character, competency and chemistry of the candidate aligns with the organization. It’s our 4C process that ensures that both our candidates and clients find the right fit. This highly selective and cost-effective process, screens for these four, key success factors (culture, character, competency and chemistry) to create a win-win for both sides of the hiring process.
- You are at a disadvantage in searching for a job and will find it hard to get the attention of a potential employer.
False. You are part of a pool of talented leaders that employers need, in order to strengthen their businesses. Do your research and be confident in presenting how you can help the organization. If it is not a good fit, be sure to ask why it didn’t work, what you could do to improve for the next interview and ask the person to refer you to another person/organization. Ah, there’s the networking working for you!
These are just the misconceptions I thought of, but we would love to hear what else you are puzzling over. Chances are, you’re not the only one who is wondering. Centennial has over 4 decades of executive search experience so there’s a good chance we have insight into your question.