Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Importance of Common Sense in the Job Search

Yesterday, I was teaching a class about resume writing to military veterans. Interestingly, when I asked the class what qualities they thought you needed to effectively market yourself in the job search, one of the responses was common sense. In all the years I have taught that class, I have not had anyone else point this out. However, it made me realize that common sense really is critical to success in the job search process.

We have all read those articles about the crazy things job seekers say or do during an interview. In fact, earlier this week, I wrote a post that detailed the most common interview mistakes and most of those common mistakes defied common sense. Here are some mistakes that job seekers make that could be avoided if common sense was employed.

  • Turn off your cell phone before going into an interview. Should you forget to silence the phone and it rings, do not answer it. Apologize profusely and silence the phone before returning your attention to the interviewer.
  • Don't chew gum, eat, or drink during the interview unless you are at an interview lunch or dinner meeting. If the interview involves eating at a restaurant, think about what you are ordering and how messy it will be before ordering.
  • Go to the interview alone. This may sound like a no-brainer, but I have had candidates show up to interviews holding hands with their boyfriend, pushing kids in strollers, and even had a candidate show up for an interview with a bird on their shoulder!
  • Your email address must be professional. Keep your fun, silly, or racy email address for communicating with friends. The email listed on your resume must be simple and professional - first name and last name or first initial and last name only.
  • Always look in a mirror before entering an interview. Check your zipper, check your teeth, ensure all your buttons are done, and ensure there is no food stuck in your mustache. 
  • Be polite to everyone you meet, from the minute you enter the company's property. A very high percentage of companies ask the receptionist how you treated them before making a hiring decision. Remember to treat everyone - including the parking attendant - as a potential co-worker.

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