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Bad Job-Hunting Tips You Must Avoid, Part 2

This article was written by in Career and Work, Tips. 19 comments.

Penelope Trunk from Yahoo Finance published an article busting job-hunting myths. I looked at several of her un-tips yesterday and in Part 2, I’ll finish off my thoughts.

Bad Rule No. 5: Don’t have typos in your résumé

I’m not recommending that you misspell words on purpose, but I am recommending that you chill out about the typos. How can you possibly send out perfect résumés every time? Especially if you’re customizing each résumé for each job, which is what you should be doing… While 10 typos is a sign of incompetence, one typo might be a sign that you have a moderate and healthy standard of perfectionism.

I disagree. It is not difficult to proofread a one-page document. Having a perfectly spelled and error-free one-sheet is not a sign of unhealthy perfectionism, it’s a sign of having pride in everything you produce, particularly items relating to your personal brand. I’m not saying my documents are always perfect, but there is no good reason that any professional image-related document should have errors.

Bad Rule No. 6: Honesty is most important

My own résumé says, “Boston University, graduate program in English, wrote master’s thesis about hypertext.” I never graduated from my program (because I got an amazing job offer based on that thesis). But I did write my master’s thesis. It’s not a lie. Anyway, it would be insane to say, “English graduate program, cut out early.”

I don’t completely agree with this, either. In the author’s example, she is clearly implying she completed her master’s degree. She could deny it later if someone confronted her about the ambiguity, but it’s not worth the risk. The right thing to do would have been to find a way to finish the program. If she finished the thesis, there couldn’t have been much left to do. While I was completing my master’s degree and shopping around for jobs, my résumé clearly stated my master’s degree was still in progress.

Lying or creating false implications on a résumé probably won’t get you into major trouble unless you are hired for a high-profile position, but it’s much better to be clear… and safe. I’m sure there are some positions where your résumé will be passed over if it does not include a master’s degree, but the right solution is to finish the degree.

Bad Rule No. 7: Clean up your online identity

Build a more current online identity that will pop up highest when an employer or recruiter does an online background check (which about 70 percent do). One way to get your new identity to the top of the search engines is to use Naymz… Another way to control what people see about you is to blog.

I have mixed feelings about online identities. Obviously, a blog like this one could be detrimental to my hiring prospects due to all the personal content. On the other hand, if I wanted to find a position as a financial writer, it has the slight possibility of being an asset. A person in a creative field should definitely have an identity that is easily discoverable and controlled. Professionals should use services like Naymz if they don’t have time to create their own websites and optimize search engine results.

Bad Rule No. 8: Treat a job hunt like a project and be a project manager

That’s great advice if you look for a job four times in your whole life. But today, job hunting is so frequent that often there’s no downtime — not even while you start a new job… It’s mostly about networking, and you can’t build your network if you’re taking breaks, because being good at networking means being a good friend.

These days, the job hunt is a constant event. There are a few people I work with who have “settled” into positions and aren’t looking to move up or move out. That’s fine, but most people my age (I’m 30) have a very different set of priorities. They won’t stay too long if they’re not getting everything they want from a position, so their ears and eyes are always open for other opportunities. Rather than starting and stopping the job search, it’s a continuous event.

Searching for jobs is one of my least favorite activities. I agree with Penelope Trunk’s premise that the old, standard job hunting tips should be revisited and revised. I agree with most of the eight points she listed in her article, except for my comments above. I’m interested to hear more opinions, especially about online identities. Penelope thinks you shouldn’t worry too much about a squeaky-clean online persona and suggests just a few ways to control what people see. How would you prefer potential employees see your online identity?

Published or updated February 2, 2007.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar 1 Anonymous

Hi, Flexo. Your post is a shining moment in a week where (at last count)about 300 people took the time to log into Yahoo Finance to say how much they hated my column.

I enjoyed reading your commentary.

I have one semi-related tidbit: The degree I never finished was a master’s in English. When I was interviewing Thomas Benton, a columnist at the Chronicle of Higher Education, he told me that people with graduate degress in humanities would have had better odds surviving the Titanic than they do getting a tenured teaching job today.

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avatar 2 Luke Landes

Penelope: Thanks very much for stopping by!

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avatar 3 Anonymous

It pays to review your resume. So many people simply do a spell check which catches misspellings, but not grammar mistakes that can be even worse…

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avatar 4 Anonymous

I’m absolutely with you on the resume – if you can’t even produce a single perfect page, given a lot of time and with a lot on the line, how big a mess is it going to be when I trust you with a BIG project?

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avatar 5 Anonymous

I’m confused about the typos statement too. Having a professional review your resume is essential to limiting any errors.

You would need to establish a personal relationship with the employer before an interview, otherwise the typos will kill you.

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avatar 6 Anonymous

I agree that typos are bad. But I’m saying no one is sending out all perfect resumes all the time. It’s too hard, because we’re always tweaking our resumes and we’re not always having a professional proofreader check them.

Here’s a longer discussion of why you don’t need to be up in arms about typos on a resume.

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avatar 7 Anonymous

I’m wondering if one were confronted about their implied degree, would they admit that no, they never actually finished it or would they lie and say they had?
On that note, I have a cousin who got an associate degree and boasts about being “college educated.” Surely an employer would recognize the difference between a junior degree and a baccalaureate degree.

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