Monday, May 4, 2009

Directions Along the Way (Part 1)

To survive in today’s job market, we all need help. The same is true in the Job Search market, especially when we continue to hear about how just one mistake can cost us the interview, the callback or the job. So we turn to the experts!

“Help us, O great and powerful HR guru. Give us your wisdom, Master Recruiter.”

Because I want to give the very best impression to potential employers, because I want to be noticed above the other applicants, because I want to get a job (and because I’m a bit OCD), I’ve done extensive research on best job search practices. I’ve read the experts’ articles, websites, blogs, tweets and Facebook pages. I have digested their advice and share them below for your personal utilization…and amusement.

Some of the advice is obvious and could go without saying, but that usually doesn’t keep the experts from saying it anyway. (Nor does it keep me from repeating it here.)

  • Leave out any information that could be used for illegal discrimination. (Not that they would tell me that’s why I wasn’t hired.) This would include age, religion, political affiliations, and such. But I also need to make sure that I don’t include subtle clues to these areas either. Putting my date of graduation might give away the fact that I’m not part of GenY. (The fact that my student number was 00001 or that my transcript is printed on cuneiform would also be a dead giveaway!) Listing my political affiliation as Log Cabin Republican may be T.M.I. (Not to mention S.A.D.) Using a phrase like “seasoned professional” is just a subtle way to say “I’m old and out of work.” (see also, upcoming section on “coded messages”)
  • Avoid including groups, clubs and hobbies. While it could show that I’m very involved in my community or that I have outside interests, in the end, it wastes valuable real estate on my page. Not to mention the overzealous hiring manager might see it as a distraction to my indentured servitude job. (Does anyone care that I enjoy making my dog’s clothes?) If not careful, these inclusions could send the wrong signal. (e.g., What might potential employers infer from my involvement in Up With Amish, when I’m applying for an IT position?)

  • Family is important, but not at work. There’s no need to mention husband, wife or children on a resume or during an interview. I should never refer to my boyfriend, girlfriend (particularly if I’ve already listed husband or wife), significant other, partner, etc. Work-Life Balance is a great theory, but only from the viewpoint of the employer, holding it out as a carrot-on-a-stick benefit in the marketing brochure. (“We’re a great place to work because we value work-life balance.”) For the candidate under consideration to give any indication of interest and involvement in a life outside the job is tantamount to informing the employer that they might not put enough of a priority on work. After all, they know that once I get the job in the sorely understaffed department, my family will be dead to me!

Of course, there are more…but we’ll stop for today. After all, we have other important things to do…like find a job! (Notice, I said “other” because I'm certain how important my blog is!)


  1. I like the new layout and animated image too. Perhaps the Whine Flu has also left the building? Hope so! Good reading!

  2. Thanks, Melissa. I like it much better, too. When I began the blog, I was a TOTAL novice. As I've learned more, I thought it needed a different "look." In your field, I'm sure you understand that!

  3. Like this layout, looks a lot more professional!
    Great job, keep it up!

  4. I do have a dog. A Schnoodle. She's a real diva and we named her Marlene.

    However, rumors about my involvement in doggie fashion design cannot be confirmed at this time.

  5. I had an interview this week that the owner of the place and within the first few minutes he asked if I was married, if I wanted to get married, then when he found out I had 21.5 years in the military he replied WHAT? You can't have done that you looked 29 and how old are you? I said thank you for the compliment and he asked damn how old are you and I couldn't believe he did this. So if I don't get the job I am going to SUE! :)