Given the wide range of complex issues that swirl around the job search process, it can be frightfully easy to overlook the basics at times. On that note, one of the essential things you should double-check, if you’re on the hunt for new employment, is that your “lines of communication” are set up correctly and in proper working order.
I mention this point in part because I’ve recently been wrestling with an e-mail issue where my messages have been getting blocked by anybody with a Comcast or Yahoo address, leading to situations where I’ve had to resend messages multiple times from a separate account just to make sure they went through. Additionally, one of my former clients recently wrote me to share the following thoughts:
“Matt: I have been applying for a lot of jobs through LinkedIn and company websites, but recently noticed I have missed several opportunities because the HR department’s email response to me went to my spam folder or ended up in the Social, Promotions, or Updates tabs in Gmail. I believe this is caused by the HR department using automated software to reply, which can easily be flagged as spam since the messages aren’t sent from the actual HR person — but instead through the email system of the software provider. Just wanted to encourage all of your clients to make sure they check all their email folders, regularly, since I’ve missed a couple of great opportunities because of this!”
So for what it’s worth, and no matter how fundamental it may seem, I’d encourage you to review this quick checklist I’ve whipped up outlining what I consider the “best practices” of job search communication:
1) As stated above, check your “junk mail” folder(s) on a daily basis to make sure no legitimate notes have been accidentally routed to these folders by mistake; I’ve made this standard practice for many years, myself, and can’t tell you how many important communications have accidentally ended up in these places
2) Check your voicemail system to make sure your greeting includes your actual name (which gives callers assurance they’ve reached the right number) and that you don’t have a full mailbox; I’m amazed how many times I’ll call people and get a “mailbox is full” recording, preventing me (or worse, a potential employer) from leaving a message
3) Double-check the contact information listed at the top of your resume to make sure it’s all current and correct; I’ve had clients realize too late, after the fact, that they had a phone number digit transposed on their resume or listed the wrong e-mail address, explaining why they hadn’t heard from any interested employers…
4) Only provide a single phone number (usually your mobile one or whichever number you check the most) on your resume; gone are the days when people had the patience to chase a person around at multiple numbers, hoping to eventually reach them
5) If you’re using AOL, Yahoo, Comcast, or Hotmail as your e-mail service, be aware that some experts believe these addresses give off the impression that a candidate is behind the technology curve; so while I personally think this issue is largely overblown, you might consider switching (if it’s not too much of a hassle) to a service like gmail.com, me.com, or outlook.com that apparently is considered more “contemporary” in nature
6) If you’re seeking to relocate to a new area, consider changing your LinkedIn “location” parameter to reflect your target destination, since most recruiters only search for candidates inside the local metro area; in similar fashion, consider changing the city/state/address on your resume to your desired destination, if you’re in the process of moving there or have friends/family in the area who will let you “borrow” their address temporarily
7) For those who haven’t realized this yet, every user on LinkedIn is assigned a LinkedIn “address” (technically called your Public Profile URL) that will take people right to one’s profile, if shared; by default, however, these addresses are long and randomly-generated, until a user figures out that they can shorten/customize their address using the quick instructions you’ll find here
8) Lastly, you can always consider adding some auxiliary contact information to your resume and e-mail signature block — such as your LinkedIn address, Twitter account handle, or a portfolio site link — but I’d suggest you only do this if these additional items are highly relevant to your professional interests and you’re absolutely sure they will make a positive impression
As I said, most of you probably have all these bases covered, but JUST in case you might have overlooked a few of them, take the time to review this list and ensure you haven’t somehow dropped the ball. Again, I routinely see instances where people violate some of the above guidelines, and would hate for such a simple thing to derail anyone’s chances of landing a great job. Anything else you think I missed?