Informalities Can Kill Your Job Search

The economy is way down and the pain is not only being felt at the pump. It’s being felt in the job market. Unemployment hit an all time high last quarter as more and as more and more people hit the streets looking for meaningful employment, bad habits are accompanying them.

Sarah Needleman of the Wall Street Journal wrote a story today about the informality used in social media, text messaging and other “typical” lines of communication. Often times, the informalities deep six candidates.

I’ll admit that I am guilty of being informal in job searches. Needleman indicates that the most egregious mistakes come from entry level candidates just out of school, indicating a generational (and of course, maturity) issue.

I also tend to use emoticons mostly in IM. This has gotten me in trouble in the past where the text I’ve written in emails was misunderstood because of a lack of a :-) or ;-) to indicate humor. Text as a medium sucks, and that is why ultimate care must be taken in how text is formulated.

Other things that can kill a candidacy with a company are:

  1. Not understanding the company culture
  2. Eagerness to proactively answer unasked and unrelated questions in an interview
  3. Blanket resumé distribution
  4. Inappropriate attire for an interview (Understand the culture of the company as in point #1, especially in the web space)
  5. Buzzword Bingo on resumés or in interviews
  6. Inability to discern exactly what an interviewer is looking for despite the questions asked
  7. Inappropriate behavior, photos, language as demonstrated in social networks, blogs, etc

Obviously, not all of these things apply in every situation. Astute candidates get ahead of the curve and understand before sending “Send” what exactly is being communicated.

As a bonus, my friend, Jen Nedeau, is quoted in the article as well. She demonstrates an appropriate use of these technologies.

“I definitely text my managers if I am running late,” says Jennifer Nedeau, 23, a project manager at New Media Strategies Inc., a marketing firm in Arlington, Va. “I know I’m not bothering them with a phone call, but they’re still getting the message.”

I’d add that text messaging a manager comes after you’ve got a good relationship with the manager or if he/she explicitly gives permission. Otherwise, you’re asking to be on a list. ;-)

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Aaron Brazell

Aaron Brazell is a Baltimore, MD-based WordPress developer, a co-founder at WP Engine, WordPress core contributor and author. He wrote the book WordPress Bible and has been publishing on the web since 2000. You can follow him on Twitter, on his personal blog and view his photography at The Aperture Filter.

21 thoughts on “Informalities Can Kill Your Job Search”

  1. Thanks for the shout out in the article – and yes, you need to have good relationships with your managers – but that applies to whether you like to text or not. My manager specifically asked for this form of communication, so I followed orders :)

  2. Thanks for the shout out in the article – and yes, you need to have good relationships with your managers – but that applies to whether you like to text or not. My manager specifically asked for this form of communication, so I followed orders :)

  3. Thanks for the shout out in the article – and yes, you need to have good relationships with your managers – but that applies to whether you like to text or not. My manager specifically asked for this form of communication, so I followed orders :)

  4. Thanks for the shout out in the article – and yes, you need to have good relationships with your managers – but that applies to whether you like to text or not. My manager specifically asked for this form of communication, so I followed orders :)

  5. Thanks for the shout out in the article – and yes, you need to have good relationships with your managers – but that applies to whether you like to text or not. My manager specifically asked for this form of communication, so I followed orders :)

  6. Thanks for the shout out in the article – and yes, you need to have good relationships with your managers – but that applies to whether you like to text or not. My manager specifically asked for this form of communication, so I followed orders :)

  7. Thanks for the shout out in the article – and yes, you need to have good relationships with your managers – but that applies to whether you like to text or not. My manager specifically asked for this form of communication, so I followed orders :)

  8. I think you have to speak to people who already work in the company before you use that language. Maybe if it’s a younger company, some of that language will fly, but in the larger companies, it certainly doesn’t.

  9. I think you have to speak to people who already work in the company before you use that language. Maybe if it’s a younger company, some of that language will fly, but in the larger companies, it certainly doesn’t.

  10. I think you have to speak to people who already work in the company before you use that language. Maybe if it’s a younger company, some of that language will fly, but in the larger companies, it certainly doesn’t.

  11. I think you have to speak to people who already work in the company before you use that language. Maybe if it’s a younger company, some of that language will fly, but in the larger companies, it certainly doesn’t.

  12. I think you have to speak to people who already work in the company before you use that language. Maybe if it’s a younger company, some of that language will fly, but in the larger companies, it certainly doesn’t.

  13. I think you have to speak to people who already work in the company before you use that language. Maybe if it’s a younger company, some of that language will fly, but in the larger companies, it certainly doesn’t.

  14. I think you have to speak to people who already work in the company before you use that language. Maybe if it’s a younger company, some of that language will fly, but in the larger companies, it certainly doesn’t.

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