Keep Your Quirks to Yourself
The Top 5 Embarrassing Things You Don’t Think Of When Applying to Jobs
An application to a job brings your whole persona under scrutiny. Your resume, of course, gets lots of attention, but many other items are noticed when evaluating your worthiness for a job. When these things are not on your radar they can cause your candidacy to go in a sour direction without you even knowing. First impressions are everything and not being aware of all the ways you can downgrade yourself will take you from a hero to a zero quickly. (Especially when claiming you are detail-oriented!)
The last thing you want to be is the butt of the joke. I have seen and experienced it all during my recruiter days and am happy to share these comical lessons with you. Please learn from these cautionary tales who acted more like they were on Spring Break than a candidate applying for a job.
Here are common mistakes that will leave the WRONG lasting impression.
1. Ringback. If I thought the resume was decent, I would most likely call the candidate to prescreen them and ask them to come in for an interview. The music I was often subjected to was enough to make me pass on a candidate since perception is everything during the screening process. Please take ‘I'll Make Love to You’ and ‘Friends in Low Places’ off your ringback. When you start applying for jobs, expect to get some calls about your application and adjust your phone professionalism accordingly. This concept goes hand in hand with my next item.
2. Voicemail. ‘What's good’ and ‘Whazzzzzzzzzzzz up’ are not exactly professional greetings! Personally, I never thought these were acceptable hellos in any situation. Keep your voicemail message short, sweet, and to the point. This is not the time to be outside the box. Here’s a useful example: Hi, you have reached (insert name), I am not available to take your call. Please leave me a message and I will get back to you. Thanks!
3. Email Address. This is most frequently overlooked. The majority of people set up their email addresses a long time ago and haven't given too much thought to them since the initial set up. Email addresses like SexyMama4You@hotmail.com and Deathrider01@aol.com do not scream hire me! Try using your first and last name or first initial and last name, some combo like this saves you a lot of embarrassment and looks professional. Also, here’s a bonus tip: AOL and HOTMAIL date you, try using GMAIL instead. Nothing screams ‘I’m not up on technology’ like these two!
4. Email Signature. Another correspondence item where people drop the ball. Your signature should include your REAL name, your email address, and a mobile or home phone number. Please don’t use your nickname as your signature. How am I supposed to know you go by Kenny when your resume lists you as John? It is just plain confusing! Your emails should be anything but confusing for a recruiter. Make it easy for them to contact you. A clean and concise signature does just that. In addition, leave off any quotes or sayings that could be offensive, are political in nature, or religious. Save these for your personal emails.
5. Email Stationary. Hot Pink Palm Trees as your backdrop doesn’t exactly display professionalism or taste, for that matter. It tells me your head is in the clouds, and I am happy to leave it right there. You should not have a background on your email. These may have trouble loading and detract from the message. It can also be flagged as spam. A crisp, white background is appropriate and all that is necessary. The content of an email is what matters, save the stationery for your pen pals.
These tiny things could be the reason you do not hear back from a recruiter or a company. If you think these things are common sense, think again! The job market has become so competitive and committing even one of these mistakes can tip the scales unfavorably. Heed this advice and don’t sabotage yourself! Recruiters/hiring managers are looking for a reason to cut out candidates in the early stages, don’t give them one!
Feel free to share any funny experiences you've had in our Comments section.