Updated February 2024. I still hear some of the worst job search advice out there… which is why I wrote Get Hired! This book is principle-based instead of tactics-based, which means what you read there can apply to various tactics and, generally, won’t get outdated.
Funny story: The aftermath of posting this blog post was that I was blacklisted from going to these networking meetings. Sorry amigos. I put my blog (and JibberJobber users, who are in active job search) before those network meetings. A friend told me this. He said, “Jason, what did you do to tick them off? We were in a meeting with volunteer staff and we were instructed to escort Jason Alba out of the room if he came back!” LOL
The Story: My blood was boiling, my legs and arms were crossed, and I was beginning to feel nauseous. And the worst part was I was *only* listening to a speaker on how to get a job. Or, listening to the worst job search advice I heard up to that point in my job search. I was going to write that this worst job search advice left us speechless but… well, here we are: blogging about it.
This speaker was an older gentleman who had been president of his own company for over 20 years and had served very actively as a local politician. He was brought in, I’m sure, because of his local clout, but there was obviously no due diligence on the guy as some kind of authority in hiring. They figured that since he ran his own company he would share all kinds of great things with middle-to-senior executives about getting a job, hanging in there, etc. I can only hope the organizers were as appalled at this worst job search advice as we, the audience, were.
I’ve been listening to these speakers since March (2006) and this was absolutely the worst one I’ve ever seen. Below are some of his snippets of wisdom. As you read this, realize he was being sincere and genuine about each of these. Also, these are only the pearls that I picked out for this JibberJobber blog. Unfortunately, there were more. And, I should say, I didn’t make any of this worst job search advice up…. I heard it with my own ears!!
The Worst Job Search Advice (from this speaker)
- Use a computer to do your resume. That way when you need to customize your “resume paragraph” (he was talking about a custom cover letter) it is easy to do.
- Always use large font to bring things out, and NEVER use small font. Hiring people are over 45 and they don’t see very well.
- Ask yourself “am I applying for a government job or a private job?” It is always good to know what kind of employer it is – the gov’t looks for status quo type people.
- Use bullet points on a resume. This is better than a 300 word essay (on your resume).
- If you give a gift, don’t make it vulgar. You should bring gifts to the office for people to enjoy.
- When asked what you do better than other people NEVER say, “I get along with other people.” That is assumed, and it is much better to show that you excel at something. Saying that you excel at poker, shooting hoops, or golf is much better than telling them that you get along with other people.
- On your resume, if you have a new job every 2 years, PUT WHY you have that turnover. Don’t let them guess it (I’ve never heard this advice before).
- Always list your personal achievements, such as “I raised 5 kids” or “I raised a kid who is a musical genius.” Employers want to get to know you personally.
- Think out of the box! Consider a job at the post office. This is a great job with great benefits. Ask yourself: Could I drive a street sweeping truck?“
- Another out of the box opportunity: School teacher (remember, he is talking to a roomful of execs that made at least 90k for many years) – they make 30k a year but get 3 months off! Isn’t that great? Also, according to him, a “Wal-Mart warehouseman makes $15.00” which is another great opportunity for out-of-the-box thinkers.
- When looking for a job, get a job to hold you over. You’ll think more clearly when you are working than when you aren’t. (I thought the same thing a few years ago, but how do you find and network into professional jobs when you have to go flip burgers for min. wage and come home exhausted… too tired to do your job search?)
- Understand what will make you happy. He talked about the ability to be happy as long as you have enough to eat, a roof over your head, your health and someone that loves you. “What you do won’t dictate your happiness. This applies more to men than women.” Um….
- Know that health insurance is THE biggest factor when hiring anyone over 45 years of age. Make sure you can squash that concern (of being too expensive) right up front. For example, say, “I don’t need insurance, I get it through my spouse,” or “Just hire me as an independent contractor.” (um, my wife doesn’t get health insurance, so that doesn’t work. And, as far as the contractor thing, the employer has to meet a 21-point checklist (which they usually don’t) and is designed to flag employers that don’t want to pay for things like this!)
- A key question in an interview is “have you ever filed an unemployment claim?” If you answer yes that brings a dark cloud into the room like nothing else could. And the cloud is darker if you’ve ever filed it on your back)! I (Jason) guessed this is an illegal question 😉
The only positive thing I can say about the guy, having listed some of his worst job search advice, is that he genuinely meant every bit of wisdom that he shared with us. And, sadly, this ignorance still abounds. I guess it does make sense to even listen to some of the worst job search advice, just to realize how lame the person on the other side of the desk may be.
If you want to work for some idiot with the same philosophies, you must abide by this crap to the letter. I hope that none of my readers want to work in this environment.
Have you heard worse job search advice? What is the worst job search advice you’ve ever heard? Was it by someone that is “in the know?” I’d like to think things have changed from, um, the ’70s!