Some of the most dangerous words in the English language are those that represent an absolute, such as always, everybody, nobody, or never. Rarely is this actually how things are truly reflected and usually something in-between is correct.
A major daily newspaper in WNY ran an article a while back advising Job Seekers to ignore the advice of their parents when it comes to their search. The gist of the conclusion is that since parents come from a different generation, they are incompetent to assist a younger generation in today’s modern workforce. If this was true, why not ignore all advice, since relationships, financial investing, and pretty much everything else has changed to some degree over the years.
Rather than taking the dangerous approach of ignoring a key (perhaps even “the key”) resource in your inner circle, I suggest you should reach out to your parents and weigh their advice. You will probably reach the conclusion that, on a number of different areas regarding a job search, they actually make a lot of sense. Now you do need to be careful that you don’t fall under the spell of “helicopter” parents. They are there for guidance and advice, but not decisions. Let’s examine below some of the most common parental advice and weigh its value.
• Parents typically want to see activity in a job search. In their minds, activity will eventually lead to success. This is especially true if they desperately want you to find a job, so they can get their spare bedroom and refrigerator back. If you think about it, however, this advice does make sense. A job search is often a numbers game and it certainly takes effort to do well. I don’t recommend you applying for positions you are definitely not qualified for, but if you have transferable skills, or it is an entry level position…why not apply?
• Parents will stress human contact and reaching out personally to others. This may seem so foreign in today’s online posting and social media world, but it still resonates. Relationships and culture are still critical, and don’t forget that you still have to meet with your Hiring Manager (even if it is via Skype) and convince her/him that you will be the best candidate.
• Parents will often question why you are changing jobs…again. Bottom line, there is value to continuity. You want to continue to be challenged and valued and sometimes that means you change jobs, but there is some real risk to leaving a position too soon (and doing this regularly). By staying at a position for a while, you truly learn the role and not just being in perpetual on-boarding mode. You also are more likely place yourself in learning the valuable life lesson of overcoming challenges. As you continue in your career, all of this will pay dividends as it will build depth to your knowledge.
• Similarly to the “job hopping”, parents will stress that you never leave a position without having another one. While there are always exception to the rule, this advice is still solid. While having gaps in employment does not carry the stigma that it used to, for most Recruiters it is still nice to see continued career progression without open periods of time.
• Yes, your grammar and spelling counts. Your resume should be concise and only contain information that is necessary. Many job seekers now seem to want to write everything into their resume, which I believe is a misguided attempt to cover every possible keyword. Your resume will only be reviewed for seconds, so the key is writing what is most important concisely so that it jumps off the page.
• Most business environments are still pretty traditional. Perhaps there is a little less structure and the dress code has moved from business to business casual, but most changes have been incremental and not revolutionary. It is important that you still dress appropriately, your hygiene is acceptable, and you communicate in a professional manner, limiting your slang. Your parents are right when they tell you to be on your “best behavior”.
You ultimately are responsible for your own job search. It makes sense to listen to family, friends, and your work network regarding how to approach your job search. It is important to understand, however, that you own any conclusions that are made and the comments received are just advice and not the decision.
As always, the best of luck in your job search.
The following has been prepared for the general information of WNYJobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.
Joe Stein WNY Human Resources Professional
Feel free to contact Joe Stein regarding questions or comments at: Joe Stein