Written By
Max Brown

09.15.16

Founder Marissa Peretz quoted: which career advice is counterproductive?

People often offer well-meaning career advice to friends or family seeking their dream job. Some of this is innocuous: do not check the time during the interview. Follow up with a thank you note. Be polite. However, some counterproductive career advice has also become prevalent, and following it can do more harm than good. Here is some less productive advice that is best to avoid, and what you should do instead on your career journey.

No matter how tempting, resist the urge to blast your application to everyone at the same company. Also, resist the urge to apply for multiple jobs at the same company. It seems unfocused to the recruiter or hiring manager who receives these inquiries. Be careful to not cast too wide a net. Emailing everyone whose email address you can find at a specific company or applying to many open jobs at one company can convey an air of desperation. People sometimes fall in love with a specific company, and that is understandable, but the way to increase your chances is to think about these opportunities strategically. I suggest only applying to roles you are actually a fit for, and try to network with people at a company you are interested in or speak with recruiters who can help present you directly.

Another red flag for hiring managers is when someone appears to be a jack of all trades, master of none. Sometimes, especially on an initial phone screen with a hiring manager, people think they need to communicate that they have a variety of diverse skill sets so that they stand out from the crowd of other people interviewing for a specific position. That can be a dangerous maneuver because it can be a trap: often a hiring manager wants to hear a demonstrated depth of skill or knowledge in a specific area. The more someone tries to sound like the person who can do it all, the more quickly it will become apparent that they are not the right fit for the current role. People are sometimes lured into this tactic when they see a slew of desired (but not necessarily required) skills or accomplishments in a job description. Statistics about the number of people vying for a position can make this tactic more appealing.

To see what other career advice to avoid, check out the Cheat Sheet article by Sheiresa Ngo.