To stand out from other candidates, job seekers are increasingly called on to earn certifications, learn new skills and develop their personal brands. However, these rapidly shifting expectations have led to common misconceptions among job seekers about what it takes to get hired.
Here, 11 Young Entrepreneur Council members share their perspectives on these common misbeliefs and the advice they would give to job seekers instead. Consider their insights to gain clarity on how prospective job candidates can develop the right strategies to land the jobs of their dreams.
1. ‘Qualifications Alone Will Land Me The Job’
One major misconception is thinking that qualifications alone will land a dream job. In reality, passion is a distinguishing factor. Employers have a keen ability to spot genuine enthusiasm versus feigned interest. True passion is reflected in the details like how you talk about your work, the extra effort you put in without being asked and the excitement you bring to challenges. Without passion, even the most qualified employee can burn out or lack innovation. My advice is to dive deep into what truly ignites your fire. When you’re genuinely passionate, it’s palpable, and employers will see and value that authenticity. – Brandon Ginsberg, ApparelMagic
2. ‘I Need To Show That I Can Do Anything’
Job seekers should have some focus. Some job seekers will say, “I can do anything.” When I look for a new hire though, whether at an entry or a senior level, I am hiring for a specific role with specific criteria that are known to all candidates. Anyone too broad in their job search usually shows that they haven’t taken the time to really think through the key focus areas of the role I am hiring for. While they think they are demonstrating openness to new opportunities, they usually leave an impression that they don’t take the role seriously, or not seriously enough to relate experience or interest to what I need. It doesn’t mean you can’t evolve your focus or shift, but show that you’ve done your homework by focusing on what you want and what you need. – JT Allen, myFootpath LLC
3. ‘I Need To Be Lucky Enough To Know The Right People’
Many job seekers believe that landing their dream job requires luck or knowing the right people. However, that is far from the truth. The reality is that getting a job—especially your dream job—takes a combination of hard work, preparation and perseverance. Instead of relying on luck or connections, focus on building a strong foundation for your career journey. Know what you want to do, tailor your cover letter and resume to every job in which you apply and be smart and strategic with your networking efforts. – Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC
4. ‘Finding My Dream Job Will Be Easy And Straightforward’
Many job seekers have the mistaken belief that finding a job is a quick and straightforward process. Many folks assume that sending out a few resumes and attending a couple of interviews will lead to immediate employment. But job searching can be a much more extended journey than expected. It’s crucial for job seekers to understand that finding the right job can take time, and the process can be full of ups and downs. Be patient and persistent. Understand that job hunting isn’t a linear path; it’s more like a marathon than a sprint. Don’t get discouraged by rejections or setbacks along the way. Keep refining your approach, networking and learning from each experience. Success may not come overnight, but with determination and a positive mindset, you can increase your chances of landing your dream job. – Pratik Chaskar, Spectra
5. ‘I Need To Embellish My Resume To Seem Impressive’
One misconception that job seekers have about what it takes to get a job is that it’s okay to oversell experiences or qualifications in your resume. This generally happens when job seekers fall short of the requirements to be a potential candidate. Many of them resort to fabricating information and adding a few extra achievements to their name. This is a huge misconception that can lead them to lose an opportunity and cause them to be blocked by the firm and its acquaintances. The best course of action here is to improve yourself once you’ve identified your shortcomings. You should aim to acquire the skills you currently lack, as it may make you an ideal candidate for similar job openings you come across in the future. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
6. ‘I’ll Need To Lower My Salary Expectations’
You might think that lowering your salary expectations will make you more appealing. This is wrong! Be confident in your skills and do some market research to make sure your target salary is in range of the job parameters. Lowering your salary expectations can make you look less experienced or less competitive than other applicants. Have a base salary line that you just won’t go under in case you get stressed in an interview. – Shu Saito, SpiroPure
7. ‘The Best Strategy Is To Apply To As Many Jobs As Possible’
I think many job seekers, especially early in their careers, see getting a job as a kind of numbers game. They cast a wide net, apply to many companies and just hope that someone will hire them. I know that I’ve met someone in this category if I interview them and they barely know anything about my company. This approach doesn’t make the best impression. Aside from that, it shows a lack of focus. Even if you’re applying for your first job, it’s best to have a strategy. Consider what company is the best match for your skills and personality and which will help you reach your goals. Map out your goals and choose the companies that are a good match. This includes companies that aren’t advertising or posting on job boards. – Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting
8. ‘My Resume Will Be Enough To Get Me Through The Hiring Process’
One common misconception among jobseekers is the belief that having an impressive resume and qualifications will guarantee them their dream job. While these are important, what often matters just as much is the ability to effectively communicate one’s skills, experiences and passion during interviews. It’s about showcasing your personality and demonstrating how you can add value to the company culture. My advice to jobseekers is to not underestimate the importance of soft skills, networking and a compelling narrative in interviews. – Jared Weitz, United Capital Source Inc.
9. ‘I Need To Seem Perfect In Order To Get Hired’
The biggest misconception is that there is a perfect candidate. This is not true. Employers are looking for someone with the technical ability to do the job but also someone genuine and real. Far too often, people enter the interview process trying to be who they think people want. In reality, being honest and showing their true personality are way more important for job seekers. People want to connect with people, and if you are putting on a show, it is unlikely to resonate with others. – Zane Stevens, Protea Financial
10. ‘My Technical Skills Will Be The Most Important To Highlight’
Job seekers often mistakenly think that only technical skills and qualifications matter in the job hunt. Many individuals tend to overlook the importance of soft skills like communication, teamwork, adaptability and problem-solving. However, this misconception couldn’t be further from the truth. Soft skills play a pivotal role in the workplace because they determine how well you can collaborate with colleagues, handle challenges and contribute to a positive work environment. My advice is clear: Don’t underestimate the value of your soft skills. During interviews, don’t just focus on showcasing your technical expertise; highlight your ability to work well with others, communicate effectively and adapt to changing circumstances. These skills often make the difference between a good employee and an exceptional one. – Sujay Pawar, CartFlows
11. ‘The Best Jobs Are At Big-Name Companies’
Many think that working for a well-known corporation is the ultimate goal and that smaller companies don’t offer as good of opportunities, but this notion can be quite limiting. While big companies have their advantages, smaller ones can provide unique and valuable experiences that are often overlooked. My advice is to not underestimate the potential of smaller players. They can offer a more dynamic and hands-on work environment where you can take on diverse responsibilities and make a real impact. You might have the chance to work closely with leadership, learn various aspects of the business and contribute significantly to the company’s growth. – Abhijeet Kaldate, Astra WordPress Theme