Every now and then, my interview with a candidate might begin with, “What the hell are you thinking?” I usually save these exclamations for people who have committed the faux pas listed here, so if you have not received my “feedback” consider yourself marginally prepared to get a job.
Don’t get the wrong idea. I like my candidates (most of them) and I truly want everyone I meet to succeed. Therefore, I constantly give unsolicited advice and occasionally I’ll remember to ask for permission first. Sometimes my advice can sound harsh, but that’s the mom in me, combined with my East Coast attitude.
If you’re even the slightest bit sensitive to feedback, get over it and keep reading.
Ring Back Tones
Please, please, please remove the ring back tone from your phone if you are looking for a job. No, we really don’t want to hear “Turn Down For What” or the ever-classic “Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang” no matter how much we may enjoy those songs on the weekend. A job search is a professional venture and your music choice say things about you, true or not, that you really don’t want a potential employer thinking.
Even my choice of songs listed here says something about me, as I could have chosen to list any number of songs and I didn’t choose “Fever”. If you don’t know any of the songs listed, we’re probably hitting a generational issue and while you may be a Boomer and that is probably another and very real reason you’re still unemployed, I’m not specifically addressing discrimination in this post.
If your email address is babycakes123, fitnessfreak1979, sweetlips69 or any number of unprofessional email aliases, please use another one specifically for a job search. Your email address should not reveal your pet name, your year of birth, your country of origin, your hobbies, sexual preference . . . the list goes on and on. Get an email address that lists your name. If you need to differentiate, add your middle name. Don’t have a middle name, use something related to your profession. That’s it. Period. Also, please don’t use your work email. Seriously. Stop it.
Lack of Detail
Error-free resumes are a must and I mentioned it as one of the first six reasons you may still be unemployed, but it’s so important and there are so many ways you can screw it up that I have to mention it again. Inconsistency is a big way that your resume shows you are not detailed-oriented. If you italicize your headings, keep it that way throughout the resume. If you abbreviate dates, continue that throughout. Too many people start with “Jan.” and by the end of the resume they have completely spelled out the months. Or they might use “Sep.” and later they use “Sept.” If you cut and paste (which we all do frequently when updating and revising), make sure there isn’t a font change or a font size change. These things are not always immediately apparent but they make your resume look strange. The brain can tell something is wrong and we spend a lot of time wondering what that is, then get frustrated and place your resume in the reject pile.
In the past 5 years, who hasn’t had a job or two or three? If you have been a serial contractor, change your resume from chronological to functional. You want your resume to showcase your experience, not the number of jobs you’ve held. If you have been promoted within your company and had multiple titles, make sure the initial dates represent the entire time you worked for the company and not just the time period you held the title.
A potential employer doesn’t care what you do on the weekend. Well, they do, but only in the sense that they don’t want it to interfere with your work. As I mention in The Successful Interview, if you must mention a hobby, stick to a safe activity that is not labor intensive and does not involve a lot of preparation and training. Your personal life should not encroach on your work life so if your interviewer might be left wondering how you find the time to enjoy your hobby and still put in a decent day at the office, you may want to refrain from mentioning it.
There! That wasn’t so bad was it? I think these are logical and rational requests for appropriate candidate behavior. Got a request or suggestion of your own? Let me know.
Originally published on the LinkedIn Publishing Platform