Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Is Texting Keeping You from Landing Your Dream Job?


Okay. So the title of this blog indicates that text messaging may be interfering with your ability to land your dream job. That, among other communication tools, may be true. And as I promise I’ll get to my point, first... I have a confession that I need to get off my chest.

I texted my husband from my bedroom… while he was in the other room!

There. I said it. I texted my husband who was one room away from me, rather than getting up, walking 30 feet and engaging in a conversation with the man whom I’ve been smitten with for almost 10 years. AND… I’ve done it on more than one occasion. Curious to see if I was completely alone on this, I shared my dirty secret with two of my co-workers, thinking I would be completely ostracized. However, I found out I was NOT alone!

One of them actually admitted texting her spouse from the back seat of a car, while he was in the front-- all because she was too tired to talk!

While I would like to think that utilizing technology rather than walking across my home may indicate that I am incredibly efficient (many of you would call me lazy), it is likely an indicator of a growing shift in the way we communicate and engage with other human beings.

So, prior to my confession, I told you that texting would interfere with your ability to land your dream job. How?

Communicating effectively is important as you go through your career search. In fact, communication—written or verbal—may be for an employer the deciding factor between you and another candidate. Here are a few important basic communication tips for you to consider while going through your career search:

1. Make communication personal. Recruiters live in a world of impersonal job seekers—make yourself stand out by including a cover letter with your resume with the company name in it. Better yet, if you can find out the recruiter’s name, include that. “Dear Sir or Madame” certainly follows the job seeker etiquette book I’m sure—but it isn’t going to help you stand out from the crowd.

2. Use proper grammar and spelling. In written communication, misspellings in your resume indicate a few things. Numero uno—you don’t have strong attention to detail. Numero dos—you don’t use the resources available to you (i.e. spell-check or friends who can proofread). While not everyone is as fanatical as I am about spelling, I can tell you that we are out there. And we can spot a misspelling a mile away. So take the time and proofread. If my plea isn’t reason enough, I’ll share a quick example. I received a resume for a candidate who was applying for a communications position at our company. On her resume, she indicated that she was a public relations professional. However, she left out the letter “L” in the word public. I’ll let you figure out why that was embarrassing. And, again, remind you the importance of proofing your resume.

3. Follow up. Communicating before and during the interview process is important. However, what you do after the interview can help you stand apart from the candidates with whom you are competing. Be sure to send a “thank you” note to the person who sat down with you. At minimum, send an email. Ideally, send a written note. People don’t get a lot of mail these days, so a hand-written note will help the recruiter or hiring manager to remember you and will respect the extra effort you have gone to.

4. Ask the recruiter when and how they prefer you communicate with them. As you begin to develop relationships with recruiters and other hiring managers, you’ll find that they may all prefer a different timeframe and method of communication. Some prefer you email, some prefer you call, and some prefer the aforementioned text. And some get offended if you do it the wrong way! So how do you find out the timeframe and method of communication they prefer? The simple answer… ask.

Communication during your career search can be a tricky thing to master. However, if you are diligent, personal and get back to the basics of communication, you are certain to get yourself on the right path to your dream job. And so, sir or madame… (insert your name here)—“thank you” for thinking of about how to better communicate during your career search. Best of luck and we’ll C U L8TR.

U can text Abby L8TR at abby.ludens@mattressfirm.com

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