Monday, March 21st, 2011

The Six Deadly Sins of the Job Hunter

Job Hunting

Use these helpful tips to make sure you’re not costing yourself a job.

Ever wonder why you didn’t get that job? Was it a bad reference? Did they give the job to someone’s nephew? Or maybe it was something you didn’t think of.

Use the following checklist to make sure you’re not costing yourself a job—Whether you’re looking for a summer job or your first big break after graduating.

Personal Branding Goes Beyond Your Name

By now everyone has heard horror stories about putting too much personal information on the web. As we have learned, some recruiters use the internet to check your background and the facts on your resume or application. Personal information such as unprofessional comments on Twitter or compromising photos on Facebook can be enough reason for a recruiter to move your resume from their desk to the recycle bin. Most of us have become adept at checking the net to ensure the sanctity of our good names. Checking your name is a good first step, but you aren’t done yet.

Double Check your Old Employer’s Details

Through mergers and acquisitions, company names can change. This occurs quite often in professional service firms where the firm is named after key equity shareholders. Even the largest corporations change their name occasionally, often to shake off scandal or modernize their image. Contact information also changes. Before you list a former manager as a reference, confirm that the person is still employed there. You don’t want to list John Smith at ABC Company as an employment reference if Mr. Smith is no longer there and the company’s name is now XYZ corp. Keeping abreast of changes will help you avoid any awkward moments when a potential employers wants to discuss or confirm your previous work history.

Know where you came from

You don’t have to keep up with everything your old employer has done since you left, but if they are known for something newsworthy you will want to know some of the details. A company’s name will lose cache if it files for bankruptcy or goes out of business. At times an employer’s name carries such negative baggage that you will need to tread carefully when discussing your former association with the company. Showing promotions at your last job is a good thing. Showing promotions at a firm that was convicted as a ponzi scheme is not so good.

Check your Contact Information

Have you ever Googled your own phone number? Caller ID has changed the way many people answer, or don’t answer, incoming calls. There are numerous reverse dial web sites that will show details on your number as well. If you search for your phone number online you might be surprised at what comes up. Do the same search with your email address. Does it bring up what you expect? It depends on where your information is listed. If your contact information shows up listed on a Craigslists ad, you might not want your employer to see those postings. Before you list your personal email address on a resume, search it online and see what you find.

Where did you go to School?

I interviewed a candidate who told me he graduated from Amber University. In discussing his education I referred to the school as Amberton. He corrected me and said they went to Amber University, not Amberton. What he didn’t know was that Amber officially changed its name to Amberton a few years back. Although it doesn’t happen frequently, schools occasionally rebrand and rename. You may not be very active in the alumni community, but at the very least make sure you know the proper name of your alma mater.

Your One Shot

Your resume may be the one single thing that connects you with a great job opportunity. You can be sure that a recruiter is going to scrub your details to learn as much about you as possible. Before you send your resume to a potential employer make sure that you have scrubbed it first. A little effort up front can pay big dividends in the future.

Charles Gillis
Author: Charles Gillis
Charles Gillis is the Executive Director of a law firm based in Dallas. He received his BA and MBA from the University of Texas.
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