If any of these tips seem obvious, know that I have seen candidates fail to execute each one. If you want to compete in the adult world for a good job, look and act like an adult capable of performing that job. Here are a few basic requirements:
Clean up your act:
- Cut your hair for business with no long sideburns, facial stubble, or facial hair for men; and hair up, or no longer than shoulder length and pulled back, for women.
- Remove excess jewelry, with rings only on your fingers and no more than one for a man or two for a woman). Remove tongue studs, tattoos, and anything that screams, “I’m a kid, and I’m proud of it.”
- Dress like a professional. (more on this in the tips for interviewing)
Use technology professionally:
- Do not use “fun” email addresses (firstname.lastname@example.org, etc.). If necessary, get a new address and use it only for the job search.
- Cell phones have improved today, such that they can be used in your job search. However, they will still drop calls, especially if you are mobile. Use a landline if you can. If you must use a cell phone, find a location with good reception and stay there for the duration of the call.
- Make sure that your voice mail message on your cell phone is intelligible and professional. A tip: request the caller repeat their phone number twice, it is very frustrating to miss one or two digits of their number. Communicate a sense of urgency and that you believe their call important.
- Avoid communicating via e-mail when possible. If necessary, keep your e-mails short and to the point. Those of us who are very busy receive 200 e-mails a day. If an email is longer than a couple of three to four sentence paragraphs, it won’t be read!
- Also, you cannot express enthusiasm and excitement in a short e-mail, and you need to let the employer see your enthusiasm. However, for specific tasks, such as confirming appointments, or relaying factual information like resumes and references, e-mails are fine. Of course, your follow-up letter after an interview can be an e-mail, but it should still short and to the point.Try to do most of your interfacing with hiring authorities in person or over the phone.
- It has become common for prospective employers to Google you. MySpace, Face-Book, personal blogs, and any other online exposure of you should be cleaned up. In the past few years, we’ve had a number of candidates eliminated from an opportunity because the employer checked the candidate’s MySpace site and did not appreciate their personal views and antics.
- You may not be able to remove all unfavorable information about yourself online. If not, take the offensive and make your MySpace site very positive. Because of its high rank in search engines, employers will find you on MySpace before any other site. If you give them enough information there, they may not look much deeper.You have to present a business image that communicates that you are not a risk.