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Myths Can Sabotage Your Job Search

Break some rules to sell your strengths

A job search in a tight market is perhaps the best place to break some of the rules you have learned. To set yourself apart from the competition, you have to be original in ways that appeal to employers.

Myth: A résumé has a particular format and is limited to one page.

Not necessarily. Begin your résumé with a strong category, one that will catch the recruiter’s interest. Try “Accomplishments” or “Proven Skills” or “Areas of Expertise” first. These categories will pull the reader into the rest of the résumé.

As for résumé length, if you have worked for more than five years, you could be omitting critical information if you stick to one page. Be sure, though, to put the most important information on the front page (and put your name on the second page).

If you are applying for a creative position, such as graphic design, you want your résumé to be different. Original formatting can be an excellent showcase; even the color of the paper can make a difference.

Myth: Do not apply for a position for which you are not qualified.

Employers want to hire the best person for each job. If the job description states “five years of experience,” that does not necessarily mean experience in a particular job. Many jobs require sets of transferrable skills. Show the employer how your skills match the qualifications that he or she is seeking. In a recent survey, 46 percent of executives said they would hire the candidate with minimum experience but a winning personality over a veteran but aloof candidate.

Myth: The interview is all about answering questions from the employer.

The interview is a two-way conversation; take your role seriously. Go further than simply researching the organization, studying the job description and preparing to talk about yourself. Approach each interview with your own agenda, developed to show how you are the best candidate for the position and the organization. You have to know what you want to say, even if the recruiter does not ask that question directly. Practice your agenda out loud until you are comfortable.