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Myth America

As a professional workplace expert, I have a problem with people who tell you they’re professional workplace experts. Unfortunately, for me, there are lots them around. Unfortunately for you, they always seem to pop up when you need them least. That is to say — when you’re feeling most desperate about looking for a job.

Ashley Robinson feels your pain. Robinson snagged a job as a content intern at Snagajob.com, and she recently published a very interesting article, “The Top Five Job Search Myths.”

As Robinson sagely points out, “while friends and family might be offering advice, don’t always believe everything you hear.” So, what are the top five myths? Let me count them down for you.

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Myth No. 1: Experience is king.

Apparently, some applicants think “if they don’t have experience they won’t be considered for the job, which is far from the truth.” That’s the truth. Employers will hire experienced workers in a pinch, but “employers have told us they’d hire a candidate with a positive attitude and open availability over who just has experience.”

Not a surprise. Most employers will pass over a capable, confident employee if they can find a complete doofus who can barely find their way to the water cooler. After all, if the new hire doesn’t know anything, the employer can immediately start training them in the weird ways the company works. Also, if you can come across as a craven robot, ready to do anything the boss says, you will instantly snapped up. After all, your manager is a craven robot, too.

Myth No. 2: Apply everywhere possible.

“Slow down,” Robinson advises. “Take your time and read the job description carefully to see if you would actually be a good fit for the position. You don’t want to waste both yours and the employer’s time by applying to things you aren’t qualified for.” Perhaps, but I don’t buy it. Of course, you want to waste your time. Wasting time is fun, and wasting time at a stupid job interview will make you even more appreciative of all the time you waste watching cheesy TV shows and playing stupid video games. (As for wasting the boss’s time, that’s just a lagniappe. Go ahead and make up a good story about how you’re desperate and can’t feed your family and you’re sleeping in your car. If you can bring even a little gloom into a manager’s life, that’s an accomplishment to feel good about.)

Myth No. 3: Following up is nagging.

Speaking for all the job-snaggers at Snagajob.com, Robinson tells us that employers “prefer you to follow up on your application,” and that goes “even if you feel like you’re being annoying.” Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems to me that you have just been given permission to be as annoying as possible. That’s good news, as being annoying is one workplace skill you have in spades.

Your action plan is clear — the minute you finish bombing out on an interview, immediately start bombarding the hiring manager with emails, phone calls and text messages. It’s also a good idea to start sending expensive gifts. (If you’re underemployed, and underfunded, you may want to send your thoughtful follow-up gifts collect. Hey, it’s the thought that counts.),

Myth No. 4: You’ll hear back from every company.

You apply for a job. You interview. You never hear back. For some people —Robinson for one — “it sucks, but it happens.” The truth is — it doesn’t have to happen. A few simple strategic moves can guarantee you’ll hear back. Like the simple, strategic move of taking a souvenir with you when you leave, like the interviewer’s laptop, or a plant from the reception area, or the CEO’s Jaguar F-TYPE from the parking lot.

Myth No. 5: Employers never check your history.

Even though you’ve been hired, “employers have been checking applicant’s social media profiles so clean those up or change your profile settings to private.”

This could be problematic. Those Facebook photos of you, zonked out and rowdy at the nudist beach could be considered an indicator of certain character flaws that will not be accepted at your new job. On the other hand, those photos could also indicate a risk-taking employee who is not only willing to think out of the box, but is willing to do their thinking without any box, or, for that matter, any clothes.

Just don’t let your employer know that you read this column. That’s a character flaw from which you’ll never recover.

Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company, but he finally wised up and opened Bob Goldman Financial Planning in Sausalito, California. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at bob@bgplanning.com.

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