Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I know how to job search, I've been doing it for YEARS

There are at least 2 struggles regarding job search knowledge as an Employment Specialist. One involves establishing authority as an "expert" at gaining employment. Another involves sorting through all the job search advice that is floating around in our universe.

A couple of weeks ago, I followed posts at Ask A Manager in which the Manager debated another blogger who advised readers that they are free to burn bridges with past employers/supervisors without repercussion. (I side with Ask a Manager; job seekers need those professional references!)

Then this week at a job fair, a workshop facilitator included this in a list of "10 truths" about job search:

"You do not need a resume to do a job search."

Is it possible to get a job without a resume? Sure. Can all my job seekers throw away their resumes? The idea frightens me.

There is probably a nuanced explanation to the "no resume" job search, but the 1/2 hour presentation didn't leave time for that.

Another "truth" revealed was:

"In most cases people hire people they know and like -- whether or not the candidate has the exact experience, background or skills to do the job."

I think it's absolutely true, BUT it needs to be managed carefully. If an employer doesn't know the job seeker, the qualifications are very necessary. The key word is "exact." Many people may replace "exact" with "any" and start applying for jobs that they should not be considering, and they may neglect opportunities they are qualified for in favor of long-shot applications.

My coworkers found a simple way to improve the statement: In most cases people hire people they know and like IN ADDITION to having the experience, background or skills to do the job.

I don't think the advice is wrong; I think it's careless advice in a sea of job seekers with different skills and abilities. We can't expect everyone to be able to discern when to use a resume and when not to, or when to overreach or not.

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