Don’t be like Grandpa!

The job search process has changed extraordinarily over the past 20 or 30 years. As recently as our parents’ and grandparents’ generations, the morning newspaper was the primary means of looking for a job. All resumes were written on paper using typewriters and sent via the U.S. Postal Service. Email didn’t exist and all networking took place in person – typically in the Howard Johnson’s lounge following a trade show or regional meeting.

Unfortunately, too many people still sit at their grandfather’s knee when it comes to laying the groundwork for a successful job search. No offense to Grandpa, but his advice is about as valuable as a Commodore 64.

Here are a few examples of outdated job-seeking advice:

  • Resumes Must Be One Page – Conventional wisdom once dictated that job seekers stick to a one-page resume. That proved exceedingly difficult for anyone who’d held numerous positions or accomplished a great deal in their career. Unless you are a recent college grad or have limited work experience, it’s now perfectly acceptable to submit a two-page resume. Be sure to include lots of white space, however, so the hiring manager won’t be overwhelmed by text.
  • Formal Language is a Must – In no instance is super-casual language acceptable on a resume or cover story, but you needn’t go uber-formal either. A potential employer is eager to meet the real you, not some stuffed-shirt who knows how to use a thesaurus. Unless your true personality is akin to those of the “Big Bang Theory” characters, strive for a relaxed, conversational tone in all your communications. Let your personality and exuberance for your chosen field – and  their company – shine through.
  • Include Every Job You’ve Ever Held – Once upon a time, job-seekers went to great lengths to write the most comprehensive resume possible. They included every job they’ve ever had, even if it only lasted three months. The 21st century resume is a marketing tool. As such, it should be carefully crafted to position you in the best possible light. Rather than making it an exhaustive compendium of every month of your professional life, focus on relevant work experience. If you are concerned about omitting information, include a brief section of “Additional Work Experience.”


  • Call to Schedule An Interview – In Grandpa’s day, job-seekers would give a hiring manager a few days to peruse their resume and then call to schedule an interview. Talk about bad etiquette! Such an act is not only pushy, it’s unprofessional and inappropriate. The applicant doesn’t schedule the interview – the hiring manager does! While you may feel that calling the hiring manager will be viewed as proactive, that’s definitely not the case. You’ll just be viewed as rude and un-hirable.
  • Accept Whatever Job You Are Offered – While your ultimate goal is certainly to land a job, you shouldn’t accept any offer just for the sake of having a job. You may have sold yourself to the company, but if the company hasn’t sold itself to you, you’re better off turning them down and continuing to look for the perfect fit. If you end up working in a dead-end job that drags you down, you won’t be truly productive and you’ll end up cynical and unfulfilled.

In today’s economy, every opening elicits hundreds, if not thousands, of resumes. If yours appears outdated, or the tactics you employ to get noticed are no longer deemed acceptable, you will pretty much guarantee that you don’t get the job. So when Grandpa begins offering his advice, be sure to listen respectfully and thank him profusely. But then disregard everything he has to say

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