Back to Resource Centre
Blog Img

5 Pieces of Old Job Search Advice That No Longer Apply

The world has come a long way in the past 10-15 years. The Internet and digital world developed into something we never dreamed possible and there has been a complete change in lifestyles. Among the many areas of our lives that are different, the way we search for IT jobs has advanced significantly. In fact, the entire landscape has had a makeover. In 2003, we were in a transition from offline to online -- IT job boards were buggy, social media was barely a thing, the fax machine was in-use, and only 64% of households had at least one member who used the Internet regularly.

To get a better understanding of just how much has changed, we sought out articles with job search advice from the past 10-15 years. Not surprisingly, a lot of the standard rules remain; however, there are also some out-dated tips that can be ignored today. Here are some of our favourites:

Keep a Collection of Index Cards to Help Track Your Contacts

As one of the oldest job boards, it's no surprise that Monster is filled with 15-year old articles for job seekers. In this one about building your job search network, the author stresses the importance of keeping detailed records of your network with a collection of index cards, a note book or a computer application. While still feasible, the efficiency of these tools is not as great as a solid LinkedIn network, database, or free personal tools like Google Contacts.

Keyword-ize Your Internet Resume

Given the growing popularity of Applicant Tracking Systems at the start of the millennium, this article from CollegeGrad was far from the only one of its kind. In addition to recommending an "internet resume" for "the Net" and a paper resume, they stress the importance of including keywords in your resume. This concept is far from expired, but the way we think about it is different. Where the article remains valid suggesting a planned keyword strategy using nouns and being specific to make it easy for ATSs, it's no longer necessary to be "keyword-centric". AI and semantic search technology give Applicant Tracking Systems the intelligence to recognize words and combinations of words so they can analyze and classify resumes. As long as you ensure the content in your resume is of quality and descriptive, the keyword aspect will take care of itself.

Prepare a Plain-Text Resume

Again, advances in technology have changed the rules when submitting resumes. LiveCareer once advised that job seekers should have a plain text version of their resume, in .txt format. This would be used for uploading resumes or copy/pasting directly into the body of an email. Today, any ATS or online job board worth its weight can handle and read, at the very least, an MS Word document. Most have no problems with .PDF format resumes; however, these can still cause problems.

Cleaning Up Digital Dirt

In the past 15 years, there has been no shortage in stories of people's lives and careers being shattered because of thoughtless information they put on social media. The way we view and clean up that "digital dirt" has changed since Women for Hire provided their advice. First, there is a suggestion in the article that it's only teenagers and people in their early 20s who are using social media and that they should be concerned of incriminating pictures and comments. It's safe to say that social media adoption has grown and there is no age range that is more or less at risk. In fact, all of the information in this article is still relevant (although MySpace is gone and "" has grown to be less of a place to create a professional image) but it is what's lacking that stands out in this article. It is good to keep a clean profile and remove anything that could cause trouble, and all networks now have advanced privacy settings that you should take advantage of. Locking down your profiles to only a small circle of trusted friends makes it less likely (not impossible) for out-of-context jokes and pictures to harm your future.

Using Google to Find a Job

This is another example of advice that is not necessarily irrelevant but more out-dated. For many people, Google remains the number one way to find a job; however, the tactics suggested in this article byODOJ could use a refresh. For starters, this year's launch of Google for Jobs in Canada changes the game completely. We also know that Google has become exponentially more intelligent. While adding operators and tricks to improve your job search will not hurt, there is a good chance the world's leading search engine will bring you the most relevant pages regardless of how you search it.

As noted at the beginning of this post, most job search principles have remained unchanged in the past 15 years, and in many cases, the past 50. Technology innovations are driving the majority of changes, but the non-technological pieces of advice -- explain your accomplishments in your resume, follow-up after an interview, diversify how you search -- have always been around and will likely stay for much longer.