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Stop Reading Job Postings!

A lot of jobseekers fret about what job postings say: I have most but not all requirements, so should I submit anyway? I am overqualified, so should I dumb down my resume? I am afraid to look “old” so should I omit my date of graduation?

Jobseekers also fret about not hearing back after submitting to numerous postings: There is no name to follow up with! There is no description of the process! I submitted and then found out the job didn’t exist!

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Stop reading job postings! Job postings are often inaccurate. Many postings are copy and paste jobs from older postings, and it’s like the game of telephone where over time the true meaning gets lost in transit. Sometimes postings linger after the job has changed or been filled. Sometimes the posting lists a wish list where only 2 or 3 of the requirements are actually required. Recruiters have lots to do, and managing the job postings is not top of the list.

Stop reading job postings! Most jobs are filled by networking. When you spend the majority of your search time scanning and responding to postings you may feel busy but you are not being productive. By focusing on job postings you focus your time on passive, low probability activities. Essentially, you cede control of your search to the people behind the posting and whether or not they happen to read your submission.

To launch a proactive job search, you need to stop reading job postings and instead find and create opportunities that are tailored to you. Know your interests, your skills, your experience. Market these effectively according to what you offer and where your passion lies, not force fitting yourself into what any one posting happens to say. Be bold and put yourself out there, and don’t rely on someone having to find you among thousands.

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Caroline Ceniza-Levine is co-founder of SixFigureStart a career coaching firm for Gen Y professionals. Formerly in corporate HR and retained search, Caroline most recently headed University Relations for Time Inc and has also recruited for Accenture, Citibank, Disney ABC, and others. Caroline is Adjunct Assistant Professor of Professional Development at Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs and posts at CNBC Executive Careers and Vault.com. Contact her at caroline@sixfigurestart.com.

Comments? Send them to executivecareers@cnbc.com