Are You Getting Bad Job Search Advice? Here are 6 Truths You Need to Know

So, you’re looking for a new job, and you know you’re supposed to spread the word that you’re on the hunt. And when you’ve told people, chances are, you’ve gotten lots of job search advice. The problem? Most of it is probably wrong! Here are 10 pieces of commonly given job search advice that you should ignore every time:

Myth #1: You need to find out the hiring manager’s name so you can address your cover letter to that person.

Nope. If the hiring manager’s name is easily available, go ahead and use it. But the truth is, hiring managers rarely give you points for tracking them down. In the current digital age, it’s just not that impressive or uncommon anymore. Instead, put your energy and time into writing a great cover letter.

Myth #2: Employers don’t read cover letters.

Not true! Many recruiters and employers do. And since you have no way of knowing which type you’re dealing with, a well-written cover letter can get you an interview—or at least closer consideration for a position.

Myth #3: Get letters of recommendation from previous managers.

Cross this off your list. Employers don’t put much stock in these, because they know nobody includes critical information in a pre-written letter. When a hiring manager wants to check your references, he or she will usually do it on the phone, where they can ask questions and gather the information they really want.

Myth #4: Take control—say you’ll call to schedule an interview.

This sounds good in practice, but in reality, employers don’t have the time to take phone calls and set up interviews with everyone who applies for a job. Accept that once you apply, the ball is in the employer’s court.

Myth #5: Visit the company you want to work for and apply in person.

Not always a good idea. Most companies offer specific instructions in their job postings about how they want you to apply, and unless that posting says “in person,” they don’t want you stopping by.

Myth #6: Always send a handwritten thank-you note after a job interview.

Partially true. It’s nice to send a thank-you through snail mail, but email is acceptable these days. And in fact, if an employer is moving quickly, a letter sent through postal mail may arrive too late.

What other bad job search advice have you heard? Please share it in the comments below!

By Logan Bragg: Partner, Triumph Services. As head of the Recruiting Division of Triumph, he has helped thousands of candidates find rewarding positions.