Four myths that are holding back your job search

Over the years, we've come to accept a number of different "facts" about the ways to search for, apply for, and interview for a job. But changes – in technology, in corporate culture, and elsewhere – have turned many of these former-truths into outright myths. Here are four mistaken assumptions that might be be holding you back from finding the perfect job.

Myth #1: Cover letters are unnecessary
Many employers don't require you to submit a cover letter along with your resume. But if you decline the chance, you're passing up on your best opportunity to forge a personal connection with the people making the hires. Yes, a resume can sell your qualifications – but as we'll discuss later, qualifications aren't everything. The best opportunity to distance yourself from your competitors is with a stand-out cover letter. Here, you can not only sell the reader on why you'd be a perfect fit for the job, but you can also sell them on why you'd be a perfect fit for their company. Job skills are extremely important, but displaying a personality that's compatible with your potential employer's corporate culture is invaluable. And the best way to display that compatibility is with a well-written, personalized cover letter.

Myth #2: Applying for jobs during the holidays is pointless
A lot of potential applicants seem to believe that the worst time to apply for a job is during the holidays – especially near the end of the year. They couldn't be more wrong! As the fiscal calendar wraps up and companies begin to reassess their aims for the upcoming year, many shifts and new hires are made. For growing and successful companies, this will be the time of year that they start to expand. Also, if a company has quotas to fill, they'll be looking to complete them during this period. If you're searching for careers in finance, the end of the December quarter may be the perfect time. And because this myth is so widely believed, if you apply in December, you'll be facing even less competition than usual from fellow applicants.

Myth #3: The interviewing process is all about selling yourself
The interviewing process, to many, is simply your chance to sell yourself to a future employer. But it's actually an opportunity for much more. You should also use your interview to see if your the right fit for the job. If you have trepidations or questions about the role you've applied for, this is the time to ask about them – not on your first day. This will not only keep you informed, but it'll show your interviewer that you're deeply engaged with the responsibilities and objectives that come along with the job. (And it might also prevent you from accepting a position that's beyond your qualifications.)

Myth #4: Qualifications are everything
Speaking of qualifications, it's important to remember that they're not the only part of applying for a job. Yes, displaying your skill set is of the utmost importance – but so are communication skills, an understanding of the corporate culture, and so much more. As mentioned, this is where cover letters, and an engaged presence in the interview can come in handy. Before you send off any materials, you should research both the position, and the company, that you're applying to. You don't just want to show your employer that you can do the job – you want to show them that you'll fit in perfectly with the culture they've cultivated in their office.

Many job seekers are having a harder time now finding work than ever before. But if you dispel these widely-held myths from your mind, you'll be sure to ace your next application – and leave the job search behind for good.