Job Search Advice from Your Parents: Why You Should Be Careful

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Young woman in her 20s receiving job search advice from her father in a modern flat design illustration.

Time to Read: 5 minutes

Leading-edge technology is constantly changing how job opportunities are found, pursued, and candidates are evaluated. This shift requires a reevaluation of traditional job search strategies – especially, those from previous generations (we’re looking at you, parents).


  • Experience ≠ Expertise: Parents’ well-intentioned advice may not always align with the realities of the modern job market, requiring a reevaluation of traditional strategies.
  • Customization is Key: Tailoring resumes and leveraging recruitment agencies can significantly enhance job search effectiveness, contrary to outdated advice.
  • Different Job Market: Embracing online platforms for applications and networking is crucial, reflecting the shift towards a more competitive and digital job search landscape.

Misconception of Experience as Expertise

The assumption that seasoned professionals, including your mom and dad, inherently possess up-to-date job search expertise is misleading. Their experience, while valuable, may not align with the realities of the modern job market, particularly when it’s been a long time since they went through the job hunting process.

Even advice from current executives and hiring managers can be misinformed! You should assign weight to suggestions based on whether one truly understands hiring (like recruiters) and are up to date with the latest trends, hiring software, and algorithms.

Over the past decade, the rise of online job boards, social media networking, and digital recruitment strategies have revolutionized how job seekers connect with potential employers. This shift requires a different set of skills and strategies, distinct from those used in previous generations.

Debunking Common Outdated Job Search Advice From Parents

“Use One Resume for All Applications”

One of the most pervasive pieces of outdated advice is the use of the same resume for all job applications. Although finding a job is still a numbers game, today’s job market demands customization and relentless optimization. Tailoring your resume to align with the specific job description significantly increases your chances of getting noticed.

PRO TIP: There are people who quote their anecdotal ‘experiences’, on answer platforms like Quora or on forums like Reddit threads. Be careful of who you listen to as in our experience, anyone with an initial response rate (screening) of less than 10% can probably be doing something better.

“Focus Only on Full-Time Positions”

The traditional advice to focus exclusively on full-time positions overlooks the value of internships, part-time roles, freelance opportunities, and temporary contracts. These types of positions can offer valuable experience, skill development, and networking opportunities.

PRO TIP: Securing a contract position can be a good strategy, especially if you’re struggling to secure full time employment. If you do well, they can often lead to full-time employment.

“Avoid Using Recruitment Agencies”

The advice to steer clear of recruitment agencies does not align with the contemporary job search ecosystem. While it’s true that direct applications are important, recruitment agencies can play a role, especially in certain industries and for specific positions. Agencies often have exclusive access to job openings that are not advertised elsewhere and can advocate on your behalf to potential employers.

PRO TIP: Agencies and job matching services typically make their money from employers, not candidates. Most of them are free to sign up for and use!

“Drop Off Your Resume In-Person”

Online platforms are now the primary channels for job applications. In fact, most companies now exclusively accept digital applications, and in-person resume drop-offs can be perceived as outdated or even intrusive. This shift underscores the importance of a well-crafted digital presence, including a strong LinkedIn profile and a resume optimized for Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).

“Networking Is for the Elite”

Another misconception is that effective networking is exclusive to certain groups. In reality, networking has become more accessible and democratic, thanks in part to online platforms. Sites like LinkedIn allow job seekers to connect with industry professionals and peers regardless of their social or economic background. Networking is no longer confined to high brow social events but is a skill that can and should be utilized by anyone, anywhere.

The Reality of the Modern Job Search Landscape

The Rise of ‘Ghost’ Job Postings

A significant and often overlooked aspect of today’s job search landscape is the prevalence of ‘ghost jobs‘. These are job postings that appear active but are not actually available, either because they have already been filled or were never genuine openings to begin with.

In a survey of 1000 hiring managers, 50% admitted to posting job openings to ‘keep a warm talent pool’.

Clarify Capital

Increased Competition

The job market has become more competitive than ever, particularly due to the ease of online applications. Where once a job posting might receive dozens of applications, it’s now not uncommon for there to be hundreds, if not thousands, of applicants for a single position.

The average corporate job posting gets 250 applicants.


The Extended Interview Process

The job interview process has become increasingly complex and demanding. Candidates often navigate through a series of stages, including phone screenings, multiple in-person interviews, skill assessments, and even group interview scenarios. This extended process can be grueling, requiring significant time, preparation, and emotional investment.

The Changing Value of a College Degree

A college degree, once seen as a golden ticket to career success, no longer holds the same guarantee it once did. The job market is saturated with degree holders, making it more challenging for new graduates to stand out solely on the basis of their academic achievements. This shift has transformed the degree from a unique advantage into a baseline requirement for many positions.

The Bottom Line

While your parents are often well-meaning in their advice, it’s important to recognize what is applicable and what isn’t. Your efforts in adapting to the twenty-first century job market, from customizing your resume to understanding the nuances of Applicant Tracking Systems, will help you put your best foot forward in your job search.

For more insights, tips, and support on your path to professional success, subscribe to GradSimple’s mailing list. Join our community to stay informed, empowered, and ready to tackle the job search with confidence and resilience.

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The human who runs the ship. Occasional writer, occasional web developer. Yes, this is the guy who hired a raccoon (if you know, you know).

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