No matter what you want to believe, you are never the only candidate a company is considering for an open position. If you go in to interview you need to put your best foot forward and be professional at every step. Only then will you will have a good shot at the jobs. However, there are some definite red flags that will turn employers off immediately. Here are several things that will make you look unprofessional and the right ways to avoid them.
- Don’t use an unprofessional email address. Recruiters and hiring managers universally hate this. When receiving hundreds of responses to an ad they aren’t even likely to open an email with an unprofessional address. Don’t use a cute email address and definitely don’t use an inappropriate one. If your email address is something like “go-wolverines at email dot com” you can create a new account for your job search using free services like Gmail or Hotmail. Professionals recommend some version of your name for your email address such as “firstname.lastname at email dot com.”
- Don’t record an unprofessional voice mail message. Recruiters hear them all the time. Perhaps it is part of a song or a small child records the family message. There is even the college stand-by; “Hello? …Hello? ….Hello? …Oh, haha, I’m not here right now – leave a message.” If a recruiter hears these recordings they aren’t likely to leave a message or even call back. Make your message more professional by using a standard greeting or recording something simple.
- Correct your mistakes. Try to proofread everything before it leaves your inbox. It is easy to miss small typos. One trick is to read everything out loud before hitting send. You are more likely to catch errors this way. Make sure that your resume is free of mistakes as well. You can ask a friend of family member to read it over for you.
- Prepare for the interview. The only way to have an advantage in a saturated job market is to research the company before the interview. You won’t be able to win them over with only your charms. Prepare the directions ahead of time so you decrease the likelihood of being late or lost. Prepare intelligent questions about the company based on your research. The interviewer is looking for someone who wants to work for their company. Make sure to have a positive attitude no matter what your real mood.
- Don’t forget the thank you note. A thank you note is about more than just etiquette. It shows the interviewer that you have excellent follow up skills. It is still appropriate to send a hand written note but an email is also acceptable. Recap what you spoke about, express an interest in the job, and even ask when you can expect to hear back.
Are you looking to work with a team of recruiters who can help you prepare for your next interview? Contact the professional staff at Harvard Resource Solutions today!