A friend of mine, the owner of a midsize Seattle business, shared some recent applicant horror stories. Doesn’t everyone know that an email address like “firstname.lastname@example.org” is not going to impress a potential boss? Apparently not. So here are some basics of applying for a job.
Looking for employment? You may have noticed the enormous amounts of job-hunting advice found seemingly everywhere — books, magazines, newspapers, the Internet. It seems that by now everyone has to at least have a grasp of the basics.
That’s why I was surprised when a friend of mine, the owner of a midsize Seattle business, shared some recent applicant horror stories. Seriously, folks. Doesn’t everyone know that an email address like “email@example.com” is not going to impress a potential boss? Shouldn’t it be obvious that pink stationery and a script font are resume don’ts?
Apparently not, because my business-owner friend sees bloopers like these every day, from real job applicants, in the real world. So I figured it wouldn’t hurt to go over the basics of applying for a job.
- Don’t use a frivolous-sounding email address (see above). Keep it simple and sober, like firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Don’t use your email address from your current employer. Potential employers will think you are the kind of person who uses company time and resources to hunt for another job.
- For written correspondence, use plain, businesslike stationery — no pastels, no perfumes, no photos.
- Double-check your spelling, especially that of your correspondent’s name. And be sure you are using the right name.
- When you interview, dress and act the way people who work for that company dress and act.
- Research the company. Know something about the business of the firm you’re applying to.
- Don’t bad-mouth former employers.
- Don’t lie about your qualifications. Don’t even exaggerate.
- Clean up your social media sites. Potential employers are going to Google you, so if your Facebook page features photos of you, say, passed out at a New Year’s Eve party, get rid of them.
Bonus tip: My friend also mentioned that already-employed candidates are always more attractive than out-of-work candidates. It may not be fair (you can’t always control your employment situation), but it’s a fact. So if you’re thinking of quitting your job simply to have more time to look for a new job, think again.
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Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use. Email her at email@example.com.