No one likes looking for a job. I know there are exceptions to every rule, but I’ve never met anyone who claims to be the exception to this one. It’s stressful, time consuming, difficult, requires handling a lot of rejection, and can feel like an eternity.
To anyone out there who genuinely enjoys job-hunting, congratulations. But you’re not supposed to like it—because if you did, you wouldn’t mind being fired. Or you might be less inclined to take a position that you might enjoy to keep yourself on the market a little longer, relishing the joy that constantly updating and sending out your resume must bring. For me, I’d rather sign up as a volunteer to have first-year dentistry students practice root canals on me daily for the next two months.
As human beings, we have a general tendency to put more time and effort into things that bring us joy and spend less time and effort on things we despise. Like laundry. I do it, but I’m also doing it as I watch TV and certainly not using a GAP folding board to make sure my t-shirts all come out consistent and with perfect corners. I get it done quickly and with minimal cerebral involvement. Of course, no one is going to see them once they’re folded and put away. I’m not reviewed by anyone on my folding prowess and no other part of my life is significantly impacted by a stray wrinkle here or there.
However, when looking for a job or putting together your resume, you have to put in the time, energy and attention as if it was the most important thing in your career. No matter how much you hate it. No editing your resume with the TV on; No phone interviews with distractions in the background; No emails going out without proper proofreading. It’s time for your undivided attention, no cutting corners or short cuts.
Below are some basic things to lookout for if you are actively searching for a job, whether you’re currently without work or just looking to make a change. It makes me a little sad that most of these need to be said, but trust me: they need to be said.
- If your name is difficult to pronounce, have it on your voicemail message instead of a robot telling me what number I just dialed. Don’t make me guess how to pronounce it and butcher what is probably a very pleasant name if said correctly. Plus, you should show your personality on your incoming voice message. But no jokes. Please.
- Don’t put a phone number on your resume that is not a working number or belongs to someone else who doesn’t know you are putting it on your resume. Do I need to explain why that’s not smart?
- Don’t assume that a call from an unknown number is a telemarketer and answer the phone rudely like, “Who is this? What do you want?” Well, I wanted to talk to you about a job. But now I’m not so sure because you sound like someone who is constantly in trouble or just super paranoid.
- If you receive a call from a number you don’t recognize, maybe check your voicemail before calling back and sounding like someone who doesn’t know how to check their voicemail.
- Don’t have a ring-back tone. Ever.
- Use spell check after you’ve ‘finished your resume.’ Have someone with half a brain look it over before you start sending it to potential employers who will instantly judge you as a nincompoop for misspelling your last position or company. No one is going to hire an ex-Customer Survice Rip.
- If you have an email address like [email protected] or [email protected], get a new email address! Even if you only use it for job searching! They’re FREE. Literally free. Also, grow up. You’re not 17 anymore and no one thinks it’s cute or funny.
- Chances are your resume probably doesn’t need to be three or more pages long. If you have less than ten years work experience, no one is going to want to sift through five pages of your ‘previous responsibilities’ because you just had to put that you were in charge of stocking the refrigerator.
- Pay attention to what it says under “Objective”. If your objective says you’re looking for a position as botanist, people are less likely interview you for a position that doesn’t involve plants.
These all come from actual experiences many of us as recruiters have had (some of them more than I would like to think about.) My hope is that these might make you giggle and roll your eyes at ‘some people.’ Chances are you may not need to hear most of these. But keep in mind that if you don’t put in the time, attention, and effort into every aspect of your search, you could fall into one of these dreadful pitfalls. Remember: it’s your career and future, not laundry.