5 Job Search Myths That Can Hold You Back

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When you've been looking for a job for some time and not getting the results you'd like, it's tempting to simply give up. After all, how much rejection can one person take? It's frustrating and some days, it can feel as though the entire world is against you. Trust me, I know how bad it can get. In order to cope, we make excuses and place blame. We don't do it on purpose; it's simply a self-preservation exercise that doesn't help, and can even hurt, our chances of finding a great job. These excuses, the ones we tell ourselves and others about why it's impossible to find a job, can become self-fulfilling. The more we cling to them, the less likely we are to branch out and look for new ways to stand out.

Lately, I've talked to so many people who are out of work and the majority of them are holding on to an untrue belief that actually causes them to miss opportunities. The thing is, no matter how discouraged you get, giving up on finding a job isn't an option. Unless you don't really need one in the first place, finding a job is a crucial part of survival. That means that when you're feeling overwhelmed and hopeless, you have to get creative and try something new.

Here are 5 of the most common job myths and how they could be holding you back:

There just aren't any jobs right now. Although it's true that the job market has been tight over the past few years, there are still jobs to be had. In fact, there are jobs available right now, in your city. The problem is that you don't know about them, you don't want to do them or you don't have the skills for them. To find out about job openings in your area, you'll need to use a job board site, like Beyond, in addition to getting leads from people you know. If you aren't qualified for many jobs, create a plan to increase your qualification. Maybe you need a job training program, an apprenticeship or a certification. Find out what you need to do and plan a way to accomplish it.

Jobs are only online these days. There are many ways you can find out about a job opening. Some jobs are listed online, some you can find by contacting the company's human resources department, and others you'll only know about through your professional network. Never underestimate the value of knowing someone who knows someone. In fact, an article at Harvard Business Review claims that over 65% of jobs are found through recommendation or referrals.

Temporary jobs aren't worth the effort. While the majority of temp jobs may say that they are "temp to hire" there are plenty of people who believe that no matter how well they perform their temp job, they won't be offered a permanent job, so it isn't worth putting much energy into them. Personally, I don't think that's true, but even if it is, a temp job is a great way to try out a new job, earn some money in the short term and give you more relevant job experience while you're looking for the job you really want. If you're struggling to find work, a temp agency can help you find short term work. Remember that even a temporary job is an important job, so you have to be at the top of your game every day.

Most employers don't care about social networking. Many people seem to think that employers aren't actually using the internet and that they don't care about social media. This couldn't be further from the truth. Almost every business, even the really, really small ones, have accounts on social networking sites. You can find out loads of useful information from them, but remember that it works both ways. An employer will search for you and view your social media accounts. That means that they will look at your Facebook wall posts, the pictures you like and share and they will probably see your Twitter feed as well. Knowing that, be careful what you put online. After an interview, don't post anything negative about the company or you might just blow your chances at a job offer.

You should take any job you can get. In tough economic times, it's tempting to take any job you can get. After all, it's better than no job. While it makes sense, it's really not the best way to go. Taking a job that you aren't qualified for, or one that you know you won't enjoy, is simply a waste of time. If you accept a job that isn't right for you, you'll probably end up job hunting again in a year or so. The worst case scenario is that you'll end up being fired for poor performance, and the best case is that you'll feel stuck and unmotivated for years. In any case, it's not a great situation to be in. Instead of taking a job that isn't right for you, consider working temp jobs, taking freelance work or accepting a lower-level job title while working toward a job that's a better fit for you.

If you've been having trouble finding a job, ask yourself what things you are doing that could be preventing you from finding the job you really want. In order to compete in today's job market, you have to stop believing these myths and look for new ways to stand out.

Do you tell yourself any of these myths? What do you think holds most of us back? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Image by mconnors at morguefile.


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  • Melissa Kennedy
    Melissa Kennedy
    @Mark, I'm glad that you see it too. Taking a job that isn't right for you will only delay your job search. The best case scenario is that you won't really hate it and you'll get comfortable for a little while, but within a year or so, you'll be back looking for a new job. By then, you will have that job title as your previous position and salary history, making it harder to climb back up the ladder.  Good for you about not wasting any more time. Instead of putting all of that energy into holding a job that isn't right for you, put it into finding the right job. This means going above and beyond to find out what you want and how to get there. Maybe you'll have to get out of your comfort zone and network with new people or take some classes. Whatever it is, even if it will take a little while, start doing it.
  • Mark C
    Mark C
    FINALLY!!  I've found someone that agrees with me on the whole, "just take anything" issue!!  My disagreement with that whole theory is exactly what's mentioned in the article, in addition to the fact that the time spent at this "waste of time job," takes away from the time you could be looking for an actual "worth-while" job.  At 31, I'm not about to waste ANYMORE time at a job that doesn't further my career, but hinder it!  Thanks Melissa!

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