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How to Decide What Advice to Take and What to Ignore

job advice
Ashley Kim
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Published on April 28, 2016

I am constantly bombarded with articles giving out job search advice. Perhaps, Facebook has realized that I write for blogs. Perhaps, it has taken note of the fact that I constantly click on articles that promise to tell me the “Five Ways You’re Ruining Your Resume” or “The Biggest Mistake You Can Make in an Interview,” or maybe there is just more advice out there than ever before.

Whatever the case is, I love reading advice and tips for job-seeking millennials. I want to know what I’m doing wrong, what I’m doing right and how I can become better, but with a whole slew of information out there telling you what you should and should not be doing, it can get pretty overwhelming when trying to decide what advice you should listen to.

It’s impossible to remember every single tip you read, so in an age of information overload, it becomes important to carefully pick and choose what to hold on to. Here are five things to consider when deciding what advice to take and what advice to ignore:

1. Understand the Industry

Tips for behavior while interviewing may work pretty well across the board, but writing your cover letter and resume and the actual discussion during an interview can vary greatly in each industry. When you read an article that gives out really general advice to recent grads or people looking for work, you should consider whether or not it applies to your industry. Having a general understanding of the industry you’re searching in will help you weed out bad or irrelevant advice.

2. Know the Company

Just as you should understand the industry, you should also have a good understanding of the company you’re applying to. For example, two clothing retailers may have completely different target customers and styles. Depending on the position you’re applying for and the company’s image, a well-tailored business suit may or may not be appropriate. Each company has its own culture and ignoring that fact can make you appear uninformed. Bear that in mind before following advice like, “Dress for the job you want.”

3. Understand the Interview Process

I’ve read some articles that have great pointers for behavioral question interviews, but those tips aren’t applicable to every type of interview. Some interviewers ask behavioral questions, while others may ask solely about your experience and work history or ask you to take a test or write some code. Understand the type of interview process you will go through and look for articles with advice specifically for those types of interviews.

4. Trust the Person With Firsthand Experience

I’ve encountered quite a few conflicting suggestions while reading through advice online. One person says to do one thing; another person says to do the opposite. When it’s an option, I always go with the advice of the person who conducts interviews for, works at or has interviewed with that company–it’s the best way to tailor your preparation for that specific interview.

While it’s important to have great interviewing skills for all types of interviews at all different companies, interview preparation can feel overwhelming with the amount of advice you can find online. Don’t drown in the online sea of information. Instead, use these four tips to help you decide what information you need to remember.

Ashley Kim

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