Five ways a job search gets de-railed (and you may not know it), with some personal, politically incorrect humor.
(1) Make sure you haven’t posted inappropriate photos and information online, anywhere. Expect recruiters and employers to google your name. If you want to post personal photos of yourself, create a secret group and admit only your most trusted family members and close friends. Be sure to remove them from the group if you anticipate any conflict, as they can download your photos and post on their sites. They may be malicious or they may not realize the damage they are doing.
(2) Respect recruiters and their rules. A recruiter who invests many hours setting up a placement will be furious when, at the last minute, she realizes you are working with a competing recruiter so she doesn’t get commission. Accepting a position and changing your mind also hurts the recruiter, who could have spent the time with someone else. Unfortunately, they do not regard this lost income as just “cost of doing business.”
(3) Be professional and operate from strength. Sending out multiple resumes to managers in a single firm or calling back repeatedly to check on the status of your application can send out a signal that you are needy. Whether in business or corporate life, desperation sends a negative signal that actually drives away your most promising prospects.
(4) Falsifying information on a resume can backfire. Once I was talking to another career consultant. I pointed out that with advanced degrees, including a doctorate, I couldn’t get past the first screening for most jobs. She said seriously, “You can dumb down your resume.”
I’m opposed to “dumbing down.” First, you might get caught and you would be blacklisted or embarrassed. Second, you have to account for all those years. How do you transform “studying and teaching” to “working as a Starbucks barista?”
inally, if you do manage to fool a hiring manager, you’ll go crazy and so will they. One manager told me about hiring someone who had dumbed down his resume in desperation. She finally confronted him. “You’re not responding the way people in your position usually do. You know things people in your job usually don’t know. What’s up?”
Fortunately, she was a compassionate manager who also realized that this man could be a valuable employee. She found him a higher level job in the company, where he soon was recognized and rewarded. Everybody won. The manager has a lifetime ally. The employee has a good job. And the company gained some talent that would be hard to find in the open job market.
(5) Sadly, jokes can derail your job search. I just read about a candidate who made a joke about taking a drug test: “Sure, give me six days notice.” He was blacklisted. Ironically, only a non-user would even consider making a joke like that. (It’s also against the law to joke at airports. But would a real terrorist be making jokes about bombs? I suspect not.)
In my opinion, drug tests are degrading and useless. The closest I came was when I applied for a telecommute position and was asked to sign a statement that I would not use drugs. I was also asked to fill out a complex form that would take many hours, so I politely wrote back to say that I was about 1500 miles from the company and therefore was not likely to bring drugs (or anything else) to the location. However, I would take special precautions to keep catnip out of my work area when the cats were there. Of course, it was a fun way (for me) to say, “Thanks but no thanks” to the job.
What do you think? Please comment below on your own beliefs and experiences about job search. Your email will not be displayed and you can use a pseudonym or just a first name if you prefer.