While it may sound silly, job hunting success or failure can sometimes hinge upon the littlest things, so I’m going to take a moment to share a few thoughts on one of the most basic elements of running a job search — which is to ensure that the “communication channels” you’re using to make contact with potential employers are as clear and effective as possible. Believe it or not, as straightforward as you might think this part of job hunting might be, there have been a few important shifts that have taken place in recent years!
So just to make sure there’s zero friction around the communication methods you’re using to round up your next job, here’s a quick checklist of suggestions I’d submit for your review:
• Use only one phone number on your resume; most employers probably won’t take the time to track you down via multiple numbers, so give them the number you check most frequently and that you have the most personal control over (such as a cell phone, as opposed to a home phone other members of your family might answer)
• Make sure to state your name in your voicemail greeting so that employers can feel confident they’re leaving a message for the right person and that they’ve called the right number
• Avoid creative or humorous voicemail greetings that could turn employers off or make you look unprofessional
• Don’t use an out-of-state cell phone number; this could raise fears you’re not a local candidate and easily cause employers to pass you over for fear of having to incur relocation fees
• Resist answering your phone in cases where you don’t recognize the caller ID number; if an employer 0r recruiter is calling you, it’s best to have them leave a message so you can call them back when you’re in a quiet place, not rushed, and have done some quick research through your files (or on the web) to be prepared for the call
• Consider setting up a separate Internet-based e-mail address strictly for job hunting purposes so that this account can be checked easily on the road and you don’t end up polluting your “main” account with a bunch of job search spam
• Avoid using an AOL account or Yahoo account for your job hunt, if possible; unfortunately, AOL accounts are often perceived as “old school” by many tech-savvy employers, whereas Yahoo accounts are notorious for having reliability issues and causing many legitimate messages to get accidentally routed into a person’s “Junk Mail” folder
• Create an automated e-mail signature (if you haven’t already) that contains all of your appropriate contact information in it, including possibly your LinkedIn Public Profile address, if you have one, to make it easy for employers to “check you out” via that system
Snail Mail & Fax:
• These methods were “the bomb” circa 1988, but as you’ve probably noticed, they are rarely used anymore as part of the modern hiring process; every once in a while, however, we’ll see a job hunter try contacting an employer via one of these methods — and sometimes the “uniqueness” of using these throwback channels will actually set them apart and lead to positive results!
• In terms of including one’s mailing address on resumes and cover letters, it’s now considered a smart move by many experts to list only the city and state you live in, instead of including your full address; the fear (as paranoid as it sounds) is that employers are now running candidate addresses through sites like Zillow.com to get a sense of where a person lives and what this might say about them in terms of lifestyle, income needs, and commute distance
I’m sure there are a few other “best practices” we could come up with in terms of employer/candidate communication, if we put our minds to it, but as of right now these are the key thoughts that I came up with to pass along. Again, I realize this isn’t the sexiest aspect of job hunting to blog about, but it’s also one we can’t overlook — since these channels are critical to landing your next great job offer!