Friday, April 18, 2014

13 ways your resume can say 'I’m unprofessional'

Lisa Vaas

Hiring pros share the faux pas they find in real resumes, including wacky e-mail addresses, defunct phone numbers and cookie-cutter templates.

No offense,, but if nobody has told you yet, we’re telling you now: That e-mail address is not making you look particularly professional.

Unprofessional e-mail addresses are just one way of sending hiring managers the wrong message. If you want to be taken seriously when you apply for jobs, you need to put some polish on your resume, your cover letter and everything contained therein. Hiring professionals repeatedly run across these red flags that scream “unprofessional.” A number of recruiters and HR managers shared with TheLadders common errors from their own professional experiences.

1. Random/cute/shared e-mail accounts
E-mail accounts are free. There’s no reason not to sign up for your own. Yet many mid-career professionals share an e-mail account with a significant other or the entire family, generating addresses such as or stay away from cutesy addresses. After all,, you can always share your admiration of Lepidoptera with colleagues after you’ve been hired. Ditto for offensive, flirtatious or sexual e-mail addresses.

Think we’re exaggerating? These are actual e-mail accounts cited by Jillian Zavitz, who’s responsible for hiring as the programs manager for, an online English language-training course based in Canada. (We’ve changed the domain names to protect the innocent.)

Instead, adopt an address that incorporates the name you use professionally on your resume and cover letter.

7. Everything but the kitchen sink
“I don't care, nor have time, to read about your life story,” Zavitz said. “If you can't whittle your resume down to a page or two at max, I will not read it. If it's not related [to the job or your work history], don't include it.”

Read all 13 ways and the complete article

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Five Secret Weapons For Your Online Job Search

Technology is an awesome thing when we're talking about putting people on the moon and discovering wonder drugs and therapies to help people feel better. Technology is horrible for managing person-to-person interactions and other human activities. Job search is a perfect example. Technology has killed anything human in the job search process. This column is about bringing some of the human energy back into your job search.

I'm sure employers thought they were terribly up-to-date and forward-looking when they installed those godforsaken Black Hole recruiting systems, also known as ATS (applicant tracking system) software. They suck, like Black Holes out in space. You send a resume into one of those things and its atoms get shredded and sent down a wormhole to another dimension. Every time you pitch a resume into a Black Hole, a little bit of your soul dies.

There's a better way to job-hunt. Here are five small but powerful weapons to use in your job search and take back a piece of your humanity. Technology has turned what used to be a friendly job-search process into a cold and sterile, mechanical and mojo-crushing affair. That's okay. We can have our revenge. We can use technology to beat Godzilla at his own game, one job-seeker at a time.
Let's go!  ( Here is a taste of the five ways )

"Who's Around?" is the name of our favorite LinkedIn search. It's easy to conduct a "Who's Around?" search. Just jump to the Advanced People Search page on LinkedIn by clicking on the word "Advanced" next to the blue box and the search bar at the top of the page.




Our last tip for job-seekers who want to take back the control of their job hunts and get great jobs is to add a human voice to the online job application. Here are two ways to do that.

When the online job application asks you to list the Tasks and Duties at a past job, skip the Tasks and Duties and talk about the mark you left on the job, instead.

2001-2004 Customer Service Specialist, Acme Explosives
Tasks and Duties:

I came into the job fresh from the military and learned everything there is to know about stick dynamite. I answered the phones, attended Skype meetings and set up Acme's first customer-service escalation plan. I trained new employees and helped Acme grow from $10M to $18M in sales.

Tell us what's in your wake at each job you've held. We can figure out your tasks and duties from your job title.

Find out more about all 5 ways and the complete article

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

7 Beliefs About Your Job Search That Are All Wrong


If you’re like most job seekers, you approach your job search with a set of beliefs about how the hiring process works, what responses from employers are good signs and what responses are bad. But in many cases, those beliefs are flat-out wrong and some of them can hinder your search.

Here are seven of the most common things job seekers often get wrong about their searches.

1. “I’m qualified for this job, so I should definitely get an interview.” If you see a job description that looks like it could have been written with you in mind, it’s easy to fall into this way of thinking – you have everything they’re looking for, after all, so why wouldn’t you get a call to interview? But employers often have numerous perfectly qualified candidates, and they can’t interview all of them, which means plenty of well-qualified people will end up getting rejected without even an interview.

2. “The interview went well, so I’m likely to get a job offer.”

3. “They said I’d hear back soon, so I expect to hear from them in about a week.”

Read more on these three beliefs, all seven beliefs, and the complete USNews article

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

8 Post-Interview Faux Pas to Avoid

You’ve just given your interview and the suspense is killing you. Will they, or won’t they -- and what should you do while you're waiting to hear back? Whatever you do, avoid these eight post-interview mistakes that could affect your candidacy.

1) You don’t send a thank-you note: Honestly, this is not a requirement, but it is the polite thing to do. Many a time candidates do not follow up with a thank-you note either because they feel they’ve aced the interview or because they believe that they’ve tanked it and in either case, the thank-you note seems just redundant. But the truth is it is a very simple gesture that can leave a strong impression on your interviewer, if written well.  

2) Your thank you note is too long and/or has a lot of errors:

3) You use your thank-you note as an explanation sheet:

See more on these tips, all 8 tips, and the complete article

Friday, April 11, 2014

Job Search Tip: Use Unconventional Keywords

A simple, yet highly effective strategy for making search returns more manageable. Instead of several hundred job posts to weed through, I get a more manageable list. Using this strategy, I often find jobs, positions, or companies I never knew existed or considered.

Step 1: Think of random products, objects, foods, places, events, professional organizations, etc. For example, "beer," "hot dog," "lemonade," "dog," "hell," "samosa," "PRSA," and so on. I also sometimes use random vocabulary words: "neophyte," "rhetoric," and "greco."

Step 2: Plug your term into job board search engines. (I like to search LinkedIn, Indeed, SimplyHired, and CareerBuilder.) I will assume your second search filter will be location. If location is irrelevant to you, find a suitable second criterion to filter search results.

Steps 3, 4, and the complete article

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Job Fair Success: 11 Tips That Help You Stand Out in a Crowd

by Stirling Cox

Job fairs are a great way for employers and job seekers to meet face-to-face without having to spend a lot of time and effort coordinating a typical interview.

However, for the job seeker, the convenience of being able to meet with multiple hiring managers at a predetermined time and place doesn’t mean that preparing for the interviews will be any easier or require any less effort — in fact, it’s just the opposite.

Better for Them, Tougher for You

In the minds of the hiring managers who attend a job fair (and often pay a fee for the privilege), the more potential candidates they are able to meet with, the better. They understand that the more people who interview for a specific job, the more selective they can be and the more likely it is that they’ll find the perfect fit.

Unfortunately for the average job seeker, the odds are most definitely not in his favor.

The hiring manager at the job fair will be meeting with dozens of potential candidates for a few open positions. He will also be on a tight schedule and only be able to spend a few minutes with each person.

This means two things:
  1. You have less than a minute to make a strong, positive first impression.
  2. The majority of the work must be done before and after the meeting.
Here are some tips on preparing for a job fair interview and standing out from the crowd:

Before the Interview

  • Research. Learn everything you can about the company, its customers, its products, and its competitors. Even learn the names of a few of its top executives or managers. Know where the company is and where it does business.

During the Interview

  • Keep it short. You do want to make sure the interviewer knows about your skills and accomplishments, but keep the discussion short and sweet. What he really wants to determine is whether you can help his organization today.

After the Interview

  • Collect and capture. As soon as the interview is over, take a few minutes to quickly jot down some notes from the meeting. Pay attention to small details, including the questions you asked, the answers the interviewer gave, and any other interesting facts or ideas that came up during the conversation.