Terrible Job Search Advice People Still Love

Terrible Job Search Advice People Still Love

Job seeking advice is offered with good intentions but unfortunately, most of what we love to hear is actually terrible advice. Even if it is popular advice seen on LinkedIn or by self-proclaimed thought leaders, it is time you learned the job search advice that people still love but is actually quite bad for your career growth.

Your friends and colleagues may have had the best of intentions when they offered you advice for your job search. And it probably sounded like great, inspiring advice to you but the reality is it was the worst possible job search advice you can follow. Yet, so many people love it and so many people write about it. Below we list the terrible job search advice people still love and mention why you should stay away from it.

1. “Do What You Love and Are Passionate About.”

This advice sounds great but there are big problems with it. Like it or not, you still have to make money. You have an easier time “following your passion” when you have money and experience.

There are reasons the stories behind “how to follow your passion” are often left out. The reality of such stories lacks romance, involves planning or education and way more work than people ever expected.

Unfortunately, money and the ability to manage finances are important for any career. In addition, someone who is “just following a passion” is the easiest person to manipulate into accepting a smaller paycheck for working five times harder than most people who are getting paid what they are worth.  

  • Better advice: “Work for the money and experience. Use all that to eventually follow your passion.”
  • Why? Financial independence is comfort and peace of mind.  

2. “Always Be Yourself and You Will End up in the Right Company for You.”

Who you are in your personal life and your career should never mix. Finding a job is like starting a relationship. For the first few months of a relationship, the “significant other” is introduced more so to “the ambassador representing you”. However, as time goes on, the ambassador is seen less and less as the “real you” feel safer to reveal it.

So, if you go into a job interview the “real full uncensored version of 100% You”, the hiring manager or employer will get a full dose of every reason why they should not hire you. This is not the time to feel so comfortable around a stranger that you start using informal language and talking like you are hanging out with some friends at a bar. You will either scare the hiring manager away or teach him/her that your “ambassador” has no sense of professional etiquette.

  • Better advice: “Research the company heavily before an interview. See if it’s a fit for you.”
  • Why? You will have an easier time finding people to work with when you know what you want. Do not wait for complete strangers to accept you for the “real you” or you may just lose out on the very jobs you were perfect for. After all, how many people really “know who they are”?

3. “The More You Apply to Jobs, the Better Your Chances of Finding Work.”

This advice still exists even though it will lead to hours and hours of work with nothing to show for it. You have a better chance of finding a job from doing 10 targeted online job applications a week than if you do 100 random online applications that you almost fit.

The availability of job postings online has led to an increase in the amount of job boards and job candidates applying. Therefore, you are facing two major obstacles:

  • Competing with spam applications
  • Bogus job boards taking listings on other sites and presenting them as their own

The numbers behind what really happens, tell you that quantity does not matter as much as quality:

  • 100 applicants apply
  • 75 screened out by an ATS (Applicant Tracking System)
  • 25 resumes seen by a hiring manager
  • Between 4-6 called for an interview
  • Only 1-3 job candidates will make the final interview
  • Only 1 job candidate hired


  • Better advice: “Network, first, and then apply to jobs targeted specifically for you.”
  • Why? All the advancements in technology used for applying to jobs has led to an increased demand for people to network with other people to find work. Working hard at applying to jobs may sound appealing to those who need to feel like they are doing something, but that energy would be best spent on networking with those in your industry. This is the smart way to work.
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