What’s Your Email Address?

Posted on March 12, 2009 on EmploymentCrossroads.com.

Woman with computer.Here in the first decade of the 21st Century, we may lack flying cars, personal teleportation and household robots. But what we do have is the Internet, which is taking over every aspect of our lives.

That’s why today, if you’re going to hear from a recruiter, you’ll most likely have your first contact by email, rather than by phone. Your email address needs to be on your resume and cover letter; it must be associated with any info you have posted on job search sites or company career pages; and it should be on your personal web site.

You don’t have a personal web site? What are you, Amish?

But it’s important what email address you provide to possible employers. Create an email account specifically for your job search, separate from any other accounts you use in personal life or your work.

Absolutely DO NOT use your current work email. Not only may your company be monitoring your email, they actually own any information you share via that account. Also, if prospective employers see you using your current company’s email for job searches, they’ll assume you would do the same thing to them.

Who hosts your email is important. If you have your own web site, let’s say jennywilson.com, then having the email address jennyw@jennywilson.com is pretty impressive.

If you can’t host your own email, the only real option for a free account is through gmail.com. Nobody will think less of you for using Gmail.

But on the other hand, DO NOT use any aol.com address. People who still use aol.com email come across as unprofessional. Maybe your grandma still uses AOL, but professional people do not. If you are still, for some unfathomable reason, using AOL as your service provider, then use AOL to sign up for a Gmail account.

Make sure you choose a professional-sounding email address. You’re not going to get an interview if the recruiter has to type in “ilovesex69@gmail.com” in order to contact you. Likewise, no one wants to hire spongebobfan@ or tonylovessylvia@.

Stick to your real name: johnsmith@, john_smith@, johns@, jsmith@. Lots of people like to add their birthdate (johnsmith1963@), but are you sure you want to advertise your age up front?

Don’t get cute. The address johnsmithworksrealhard@gmail.com might get a laugh – and then your resume hits the round file. Keep your email address short, easy to spell, and directly relevant to you as a professional.

Good luck with your search!

How to Use Bullet Points in Your Resume

Posted on Mar 10, 2009 on EmploymentCrossroads.com.

ResumeFor my entire career, I’ve broken down the job descriptions on my resumes into bullet points. I had no idea I was starting a trend.

Today, job search consultants are really pushing the bullet-point resume. The main advantage is that it makes your resume easier to read, and it’s much easier to get across the most important points across to the reader. No one facing a stack of resumes to read wants to have to dig for the pertinent information.

So if your resume looks like this:

President of the United States
Washington, DC
1/2001 – 1/2009

Served as chief executive for world’s most powerful country. Presided over two foreign wars, and was Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. Served two terms. Spearheaded use of executive signing orders; ordered the curtailing of civil liberties. Misplaced a city in Louisiana. Imprisoned thousands in foreign jails without trials or due process. Supported financial deregulation that led to worst financial disaster since the Great Depression. Enjoys clearing brush, reading to children.

.. then it’s time to change it up. Don’t list everything you did on the job — just list the most important and impressive accomplishments, starting with the best:

President of the United States
Washington, DC
1/2001 – 1/2009

  • • Elected twice to highest office in land
  • • Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces in two wars
  • • Appointed two Supreme Court justices
  • • 90% approval rating after 9/11 attacks

As you can see, no negatives are listed. And there are only four bullet points — include too many, and it’s just as hard to read as if it didn’t use bullet points.

If a potential employer wants to know everything you did at a previous job, they will call you or bring you in. The resume is your opportunity to just get across the most important points. Besides, if someone is looking at your resume for a job you’ve previously held, then they already know what that job entails.

The resume is your first and best chance to impress. Use it!

Interviewing? Don’t Worry About What You Can’t Control

Posted on February 12, 2009 on EmploymentCrossroads.com.

Worried woman.So you’ve got that big interview for a great job.

You know exactly what to do — research the firm, dress appropriately, bring with you everything you need (including a pen and extra resumes), show up on time.

The interview goes great. You’re confident and have answers prepared for the toughest questions. You’re able to show off your knowledge, your skills and your personality. You get a great vibe from the interviewer(s). The meeting is actually fun.

It’s your best interview ever!

You go home, send a thank you note, and then wait. You worry — did you come across as confidently as you felt? Did you say anything foolish? Did they really like you?

Then the bad news comes — they gave someone else the job.

The worries turn into self-incrimination. Obviously, you did screw up, right? Or you would have gotten the job!

Wrong. You gave a great interview. You couldn’t have done any better. The fact is, when it comes to getting a job, there are far too many factors outside of your control.

Maybe it was a so-called “courtesy interview,” and they never had any plans to hire you. Or they might have already chosen someone internally, but company rules require a certain number of outside interviews.

The position might be canceled, or delayed. And of course there’s office politics. Mr. Smith wanted to hire someone last year, but got shot down — so now he’s sabotaging Ms. Jones’ attempt to hire you.

The truth is, you have no way of knowing what’s going on behind the scenes. All you can do is give a great interview and hope for the best.

It’s hackneyed but it’s true: accept the things you cannot change, have the courage to change the things you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.