There seems to be a rumor about job searching floating around. Have you heard? Finding a job is easy. It’s easy as long as you format your resume in a very specific way and you include the perfect phrases on your LinkedIn profile. There’s a very specific way that all recruiters want your resume to be formatted, and there are specific keywords they’re all looking for. Every successful job seeker knows these rules, and they’re not hard to learn.
If this sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is. I tell every job seeker I meet with, “If you showed your resume to 10 different people, you would get 10 different opinions. There’s no one way to write a resume.”
The same applies for your entire job search. Sure, there are guidelines. There are best practices. But there’s no one specific resume layout or one specific set of words that’s going to turn your entire job search around.
I’m not sure why these rumors exist, other than maybe they make sense of a process that can often feel senseless. They give us back control during a time when we feel that all control has slipped away. But, in reality, there is no one way to perform an effective job search. There are many ways. There are many options that can work.
One thing that does always work during the job search is never giving up. Another is trying various strategies until something works.
And there are a few good general guidelines to keep in mind.
First, manage your personal brand. When it comes to job searching, perceptions are reality. Your personal brand is impacted both in the online world and in real life. Do a thorough check on Google to see what a recruiter might learn about you if they were to look around. If you find questionable content, do your best to remove it or change it.
In the offline world, think of things like your appearance and other first impressions, such as how you shake hands or leave voicemail. Take the time to write thank-you notes to those who help you. Keep in touch with those you care about.
When it comes to your resume and LinkedIn, be sure they’re up to date. Check their accuracy. Ensure that you’re including detailed information, but write them in such a way that someone outside of your current industry could understand them.
Job seeking is not an overnight endeavor. It takes time. It takes persistence. And, when you do land your dream job, it’s not going to be because you followed a gimmicky idea about how to write the perfect resume or stuffed your LinkedIn profile with the right keywords. Your resume and LinkedIn profile are two pieces to a larger pie. They can support your case for getting a job, but these things alone will not land you your next gig.
The next time you hear a suggestion that sounds like a gimmick, keep things in perspective. Consistency, persistence, and networking are the the things that actually work – every time.
A version of this article originally appeared on the Memphis Daily News.