You just can’t figure it out! You tweaked your resume and cover letter 20+ times to apply for that to-die for internship or job, and even had a professional within the office of career services verify that it was pretty darn impressive. On top of that, you have been networking like crazy on and off campus, on and offline, just like your academic advisor suggested. So why is it that after months of job searching, you haven’t had one call for an interview? Unfortunately, it could be that while your resume and networking skills are golden, there are a few things that make you seem like a questionable job candidate and results in employers passing you by. Four definite no-no’s:
An unprofessional online presence: Reading about the wild night you just had (that you barely remember because you were soooooooo freaking drunk) may be very amusing to fellow Facebookers, but not so much to a potential employer digging around to learn more about you. And chances are that they are digging. A CareerBuilder.com survey of 2,184 hiring managers and HR professionals found that nearly two in five companies use social networking sites to research job candidates. Of those checking the net to scope people out, 43 percent said they have found information that has caused them not to hire a candidate. So, if your profiles on social media sites aren’t set to ultra private and feature unprofessional (mean, controversial, sexual, anything but positive) posts, you could lose a job you didn’t even know you were seriously being considered for. Ditto for sexually suggestive photos.
Beyond checking you out on social media platforms, potential employers may simply Google you. Through search engines, would-be employers can find posts, photos, and video left on various websites from long, long ago. If the content is questionable, they aren’t going to call you anyway and ask if you have matured since then. Bottom line: If your overall online presence paints you as anything less than a sophisticated and charming young woman, clean it up immediately.
An unprofessional email address: How seriously do you think you’ll be taken by an employer if you email your resume from [email protected]? Not very seriously at all. If you haven’t done so, create a professional-sounding email address using Gmail (because some employers consider Hotmail and Yahoo to be youngster) and use your name or part of your name as the email address. Keep it simple by avoiding the use of hyphens, periods, and multiple numbers. Your email address should be both easy to remember and type. Also, don’t use your birth year, graduation year, or anything else that indicates your age.
An unprofessional voice message: Talking sexy on your voice mail, making a joke, using a ringback tone, and even having a long-winded inspirational message are potential employer turn offs. Even your friends don’t want to hear all that. While you’re job searching—and even once you’ve snagged a position—you’ll need to have a professional voice message. Think upbeat (so you don’t sound monotone or like you don’t play well with others) and short (so people don’t forget what they want to say by the time your message is over).
Sending emails using your company email address: This indicates to employers that you don’t see a problem with using work time for personal business, and this is never a good sign.