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The Ten Worst Job Search Tips Ever

Source |  |  BY:Liz Ryan CONTRIBUTOR

Dear Liz,

I recently joined a job search networking group. I enjoy the interaction with the other members, but the speakers who come and address our group tend to give out the same tired, old job-search advice you rail against.

I had to bite my lip for 45 minutes straight at our job-search networking group meeting this week.

The speaker said “Consider volunteering for an organization you want to work for. Once they see what a great job you do for free, they may create a position for you.” I didn’t say anything because it wasn’t my place, but I wanted to!

Why do so many people tell job-seekers to grovel? I’ve never heard anybody suggest that a house painter or auto mechanic give away their labor for free.

Thanks Liz!



Dear Doran,

We have been taught a set of ideas — called a frame — about employment.

We have a mental model about employment implanted in our heads.

Here are some of the ideas embedded in the traditional employment frame most of us learned as children:

• Employers of any size are mighty, and job-seekers (and employees) are interchangeable machine parts of little significance.

• A job-seeker’s goal is to convince an employer to choose him or her from a field of other, equally qualified applicants.

• There is always more available talent than there are available jobs.

• You are very lucky to get an employer to glance your way.

This is all nonsense, of course! As you point our, we do not have the same set of sick, twisted ideas about self-employment. Business owners, however modest their business, sit on a higher plane than employees in the mental model.

In fact, we put entrepreneurs on a pedestal and say “Look how daring they are — such risk-takers!” We say that even though a hundred and fifty years ago virtually all of our forebears were entrepreneurs. They didn’t have a fancy French word to describe how they made their living.


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