Essential Job Search Advice No One Talks about

Are you looking for job search advice? Look no further! At AreWeHiring, we provide comprehensive job search advice to help you find the perfect job. Our advice covers everything from creating a resume and cover letter to networking and interviewing. We also provide tips on using job search engines and social media to find job openings. With our advice, you’ll be able to find the job of your dreams in no time. Start your job search today with AreWeHiring! Finding a job is a full-time job, and that’s why people pay coaches to help them find jobs and why companies pay recruiters to help them find employees.

There are many great resources to help you understand the essentials of a job search and how to improve your habits to increase your chances of getting a job. We aimed to describe some of the lesser talked about topics in looking for a job. If, after reading this, you still have questions, contact us today.

How much does your degree matter in a Job Search? 

Unless you are going into a highly technical, niche role, the type of degree (typically) hardly matters with more time and experience. Many people will change roles, industries, companies, and the like several times throughout their careers. Some of those changes may require additional education, but many will not. Your teaching becomes less relevant as you gain more experience and time moves on. Despite the relevance degrading, education is helpful to boost your background or help you transition. When you get another or advanced degree, it becomes relevant again, at least up until you start gaining experience after it.

As someone who works with Physicians and another highly technical field, education should not be downplayed either. At the bare minimum, education does symbolize that you can learn and are willing to stick something out to achieve a goal. It also represents a lower barrier to your success in an organization. This representation is essential because most organizations need to be structured to train and educate employees. That is a secondary function.

Education is essential when starting your career or making a significant change. Many organizations will require a degree or equivalent years of experience for consideration for a job, especially at larger organizations and for higher paying or seniority roles. Many companies require a master’s degree or higher to be in management. Generally, a company will count the equivalent years of experience for a degree.  

Just having a degree does not entitle you to anything, either. The worst thing you can do is expect a degree to suddenly advance your career (looking at my MBA people). Will it help? Yes, but at the end of the day, how can you apply the knowledge and have a track record of utilizing it far more critical to most employers? Your education should make its way to the bottom of your resume after you have more than 3 years of experience. 

 It is worth noting that Recruiters do not care about the GPA you had 5+ years ago. We also only care about your GPA if you are in the top 10% and in an applicable/competitive major. Sorry to say, but unless you went to an ivy league school, we also only care a little about your pricey private university. Though some employers/recruiters/hiring managers have universities they think are better than others, it needs to be more consistent and worth worrying about. Also, please take off all your extracurriculars after you get your first job. These are only nice when looking to get into the workforce. My point is that it is not relevant that 5+ years ago you were a member of the XYZ club.  

Giving Notice Is A Courtesy, Not A Requirement

While I will always encourage you to leave on a good note and not burn bridges, giving ample notice is a professional courtesy and not something you 100% must do. This especially pertains to hostile or toxic work environments. Always review your contract or employee manual. Or, when in doubt, confer with HR about any official policies. The goal is to leave the situation without being marked as “Ineligible for Rehire.” Often when you give notice, the actual colors of the organization, team, and manager come out. You should also inquire if the employer has a buyout option for PTO. If you still need to, you should use what you have banked up before notifying the company.

Job Hopping Is the New Norm

I’m not talking about bouncing every 3-6 months. But every 2-4 years is something I highly encourage, significantly earlier on in your career. This means you can skip employer to employer. But it would help if you consistently were exploring new opportunities. It tells you what the market wants and what it’s worth. This can significantly steer your career. If not for the drastic pay increases you’ll likely experience, then do it for diversifying skills and experience in different roles and industries. One thing I notice about people who stick around long-term is their little perspective on how the rest of the world conducts business. There is no reciprocated loyalty. They are a business and will make business decisions about you as an employee. It would help if you did the same. To add to this perspective, companies often slowly adjust salaries to market value. Why? Because people stay in their roles and happily take 3% increases while inflation outpaces them. Many companies will offer you 10% or more across the street. But be warned, you do this too much and over-inflate your value or become a flight risk companies don’t want to invest in (hire).

Human Resources Role in a Job Search 

HR’s job is to manage the relationship between the organization and the employee (or potential hire). Their role is to mitigate liability and maximize the impact on employees in the organization. This is extremely important to remember when speaking to HR or a Recruiter. Even the most genuine altruistic HR representative is still getting paid to represent the company’s interest. While you should certainly consider going to them to report hostility or harassment towards you by another colleague, they are not there to air your grievances. Once you start complaining to them about your job, pay, or manager, you will become a person of interest. This can be a good thing or a bad thing.

Getting Fired Is Not the Death Knell of One’s Career

Believe it or not, getting fired does not end one’s career. I understand the apprehension. The bottom line is that sometimes a job or environment can be a bad fit. Getting fired doesn’t have to indicate abject failure; it can represent an opportunity to move on from a bad fit. Again it has no bearing on your value as a person or an employee. What you do after will matter. Your new job is finding the RIGHT job, not just any job.

The same is true about leaving a job without a job lined up. If you do this, make sure you have some money lined up, but sometimes concentrating on finding the next job is far better than being stuck in the current one. A bad fit can cause social, emotional, and physical harm, and no one pays you enough.

Recruiters Are Generally Not Career Coaches

Most Recruiters (that a hiring organization isn’t employing) get paid when they place someone with their client companies. That’s the only way they get paid. So if they can’t place you, then you are either a potential future candidate or a waste of their time. Though many of us really like helping people, at the end of the day, if we concentrate on something other than making money, we lose it. A good recruiter will be upfront about their intentions and set expectations. The problem is that many untrained Recruiters and volume-based offshored firms will sell you the dream and then ghost you. Internal Recruiters and Outplacement Services are a different story.

Recruiters are not Responsible for Providing Candidates with Feedback.

Here come the r/recruitinghell people. I know it sucks, but for various liability exposures and operational reasons, recruiters will generally not provide you feedback on your background. This isn’t their job, and expecting that from them needs to be corrected. Employers will only want to give you feedback if it opens them up to various liabilities. It’s worth noting that recruiters often need to get feedback from the interviewer to provide you with any feedback. The best feedback is that you are moving forward in the process. They should, however, notify you of your status. (that’s another issue)

Career Coaches Don’t Have a Magic Formula For Getting Jobs

Your career, market value, and expertise/knowledge make you a good candidate. If you are genuinely looking at job postings, networking, Linkedin/etc., then you should have a good what you do or don’t have. If not, then hire someone to coach you. Executive coaches or outplacement services can do that work for you. Executive coaches WILL COST YOU MONEY. Like how you pay your physical trainer, therapist, or mechanic, career coaching and working with you takes a lot of time, expertise, etc. It will cost money. Most coaching/outplacement services will cost 2,000-5k. If you don’t know where to start, consider working with someone. This is another reason why networking and consistently looking for jobs is a good idea, even if you are happy.

There is little to no barrier to entry into the “career coaching” field. As a result, you are likely to run into more duds than people who are worth the $150/hr+ they want to charge you. In most cases, they must give you new information you couldn’t already Google. However, the right career coach can set you on the right path. They can provide you with the motivation, encouragement, and positive affirmations you might need to jump back into the game sooner than later. A good career coach does not necessarily possess the secret recipe to getting a job (Spoiler: there isn’t one). A good career coach can help get you back on the right path and help get you back into a better headspace before you embark on your job-hunting journey. If not for anything else, they provide accountability.

Networking Is Not A Magic Bullet or Must Have

Searching for jobs is in itself a sales job. You need to play the numbers and sell to active customers (employers with job openings) and passive customers (employers not actively looking). Networking is a tool that can accomplish both above. We’ve all had bad salespeople spam us. Don’t be that person. Use every conversation to grow leads, knowledge, or your network. In addition to increasing your understanding of your candidacy and the market, these conversations will increase your odds of success. It’s not some magic bullet; doing it wrong will hurt more. Networking is another area coaches can help. We do this all day long and are generally good at it. Check out The Balance’s article on How to Reach Out to Recruiters on LinkedIn for some strong networking tips.

Job Descriptions are Wish Lists, Not Absolute Must Haves. Job Postings & Job Descriptions are different. 

A job posting is an advertisement for a job opening. In contrast, a job description is a detailed document that outlines the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills required for a particular job. A job posting is typically used to attract potential applicants. A job description provides a more detailed overview of the job and its requirements. Every position exists to fill a business need. The Job Description is the recipe for the business operation that fulfills that need. No one expects a person to be that cookie-cutter. Employers often look for people to fill out ~80% of that wish list. Why? Because you also need somewhere to grow. Most teams are more comfortable training and mentoring on some things over others. A job posting is an advertisement you see on most job boards. These are not official HR documents and often contain only a little info. Job Descriptions often are outdated, but when you look at enough of them, they paint a picture of what experience, knowledge, technology, or the like you should have (and have on your resume)

Timing & Persistence Is The Key To Success

Getting rejected is a part of life. We all have been rejected. As I mentioned, job searching is a sales job. Sales jobs consist of 75-90% rejection. But that 10% makes all the difference. Rejection has no bearing on your worth. There are a ton of moving pieces in hiring. Even when you get beat out by another candidate, it usually isn’t anything you can or should change. It’s just not the best match. It almost always has everything to do with the right timing. Timing, luck, and persistence have everything to do with success at whatever it is you take on. It would help if you realized it’s better to find out it’s a lousy fit now than get the role to find out it’s a bad fit then.