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Five Good Job Search Tips and Avoiding Outdated Advice

Updated on February 7, 2015

Internet Information Is Not Always Accurate

After the Internet became popular among the public about 1996, people found it entertaining and useful to begin positing information online themselves. Millions of individuals and even more businesses use the Internet two decades later to distribute information. Some of the information accumulated in this manner is useful and some of it is outdated or inapplicable.

The following list of bullets of job advice offered across the internet are usually incorrect in the 21st century.

1. Finding a job is easy.

In much of the previous USSR, jobs were assigned by the government. According to information from my Russian and Ukrainian in-laws in the 1960s and from teachers who moved here from the USSR, the assignments occurred in schools as officials noted what subjects individual students mastered well.

This was easy for the student, except in cases in which the student did not enjoy the subjects at which (s)he excelled - this leads to burnout pretty quickly and in the 1960s, workers toiled seven days a week in the USSR.

Overall, finding a job is work in today's America, especially after the Great Recession of 2008 - 2010. The search may be even more work than the last actual employment that you experienced. Still, some parts of the USA are growing jobs and demanding more workers than they have.

If you enter the family business or inherit a company, then your job search tasks may be easy.

The average job search lasts four to six months or longer these days, so work on fine tuning your skills in:

  • Interviewing
  • Networking and communicating
  • Reading the local area job market - What is available short- and long term
  • Improving your qualifications, professional experience, and education

Good salaries and benefits require a consistent good work ethic.
Good salaries and benefits require a consistent good work ethic. | Source
Job Superstitions will not help you, even at Halloween.
Job Superstitions will not help you, even at Halloween. | Source

2. You will receive a large salary on your first job, along with many benefits and perks.

Some new college graduates in the 2010s expect high salaries immediately for any degree in any discipline they studied and without experience. Unfortunately, that high pay goes to medical professionals and senior corporate officials, but IT jobs can pay well.

Decide where you want to live and work and check out our salary research page at this link. Use it to find true salary ranges for your desired job.

Compare starting, midpoint, and endpoint salaries in your career field and related jobs. You may need to accept that you will start below the midpoint and work your way up.

Negotiating a salary shows your boss that you are a thinking person and are not naïve.

If there is no room for salary adjustment, take into account the benefits like 401K, flexible opening accounts, tuition reimbursement, flex time, vacations, bonuses, and other perks.

Be grateful for a full-time salary, but don't be a pushover. expect reasonable pay and raises for good work.

An example of a good work ethic that employers appreciate is that of the high school runners in the film McFarland USA, starring Keven Costner. In the late 1980s and 1990s, seven young men rose at 5:00AM each morning to pick cabbages and other vegetables from California fields, then ran to high school between 8:00 - 9:00 AM.

After school, they ran back to the fields to work a few hours, then did cross country track team practice. Saturdays were all about work. They were paid by the field, not by the hour. This is too much work for too little pay to expect from employees in America of the 2010s, but it is a good example of a model work ethic.

Knock 'em Dead 2015: The Ultimate Job Search Guide
Knock 'em Dead 2015: The Ultimate Job Search Guide
This is an easy to understand book that describes effective means to securing employment that you will enjoy and in which you will thrive. Give it a try.

3. Take the first job offered to you and hope for the best.

After college graduation with a dual degree in an honors program, I signed up with a few employment agencies and was offered three jobs right away - all at minimum wage. I dropped all three companies and found another, more professional and more ethical firm. At the time, I could have used a good source like the book Knock 'Em Dead, which offers useful, pertinent, up-to-date steps that help secure work.

Starting a a fairly well paying part-time position, i found that the company at which I was placed soon offered me full-time work and a permanent position. With a couple of promotions, I was among the managers of this non-profit company until its funding was voted out by the US Congress under the Clinton Administration.

Some individuals with families to support may become desperate in their job searches and accept the first employment offered, even if wages are low. It is important for them to keep looking for a better job.

One of the "employment agencies" I used short-term was actually a company that charged job seekers thousands of dollars in order to search for work for them. I refused to pay the exorbitant amount and the representative interviewing me asked for a list of relatives and friends they could approach for the money. The company is out of business today.

People on teams are similar, but still have individual likes.
People on teams are similar, but still have individual likes. | Source

4. Companies hire only the best-qualified applicants.

Most company officials do try to hire well qualified job candidates, but qualifications are not the only criteria for hire. Personality and habits enter the picture in large roles.

A good indicator of whether you will be hired or not is your interviewing skills, your Social IQ, and whether you are similar to other workers (a good fit) in the company.

Employers look for qualities such as how you get along with others and function in a team. This is a big deal - Children's cartoons and early childhood education facilities are driving home that point hard. Even the new SpongeBob movie of 2015 - Sponge Out of Water - harps on teamwork, but the teamwork is effective. I hear toddlers and Kindergartners declaring truisms about teamwork when they are in restaurants and stores every day. Most companies demand teamwork, but some firms have work that can be done alone.

Build rapport with your interviewers and team members you meet in the interview process - This includes the company receptionist and the janitor. Qualifications, professional experience, education, and volunteerism may result in an interview, but you'll have to prove yourself and sell yourself in the interview.


I was disappointed after high school near the end of the Vietnam Conflict. We were required by law to be age 21 in order to qualify for educational grants and loans ourselves, so many missed college and good opportunities. Applying for jobs instead, we women were told that we were taking work away from men. Really? In the 1970s and 1980s?

5. If you have no prospects after high school, go to college.

College is not useful for everyone after high school and some college graduates end up with heavy student loans to pay and still have no job prospects. If intent on college at an early age, look into attending high school and college at once.

If you attend college, stay informed about business and employment trends and study for a job that will actually be there in four or five years.

It is unwise to become a professional student. Eventually, you will run out of classes to take, research to do, and internships to fill in order to make a living. In addition, a degree must usually be completed in 10 years or all credits are lost, according to the administration at The Ohio State University. Two people I know were burned by that rule - one lost a PhD and the other lost a BA degree. Neither can financially afford to start over in their higher education.

If you decide to attend college and have a career in mind that will actually exist when you graduation, choose a college or university that is best for you. Schools in which students and faculty inhabit the same large homes are wonderful. Other colleges are actively involved with business and the community to create new jobs and serve the local people, even senior citizens.


Good Job Tips Summary

Finding a job can be work, but it can be fun and rewarding. You may not receive the largest salary on your first job, but learn to research salary levels and negotiate your best offer, while you continue to look for better employment. Don't necessarily take the first job that is offered to you, and beware of disreputable job search firms. Improve your skills with free classes online and in the community, and have solid plans for employment if you decide to attend college.

Much success to you and your family in securing well paying, interesting work!


© 2015 Patty Inglish MS


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