My jaw drops quite often these days when I receive phone calls from acquaintances in the hiring field with their latest and greatest – “you wouldn’t believe …” stories. I wonder when professionalism went out the window and sadly these days it seems almost anything goes. I decided it was time to pen just a few tips on professionalism that seems to have gone awry over the years.
When did people stop wearing suits to interviews? What happened to the line – ‘dress for the position you want not what you have?’ I am stunned to hear what people find ‘acceptable’ to wear to interviews. My honest opinion is to always wear a dark suit with a shirt and tie for men, and a nice top or blouse for women. I understand that in not all situations you want to dress in this manner as there are careers and companies that this would not be acceptable. However, flip flops and provocative clothing is certainly unacceptable in all cases. Suits can be expensive so a nice pair of dress pants and a shirt or blouse/cardigan work but you really need to think of your environment. Some companies still enforce business attire and you don’t want to give the wrong impression before you even have a chance to discuss your experience.
Obviously along with dress code includes makeup and perfume/cologne. Always stay on the lighter side. Clean and professional goes a long way!
This one shocks me every time! When applying for a job, please, please use a professional e-mail address! You can always forward your ‘professional’ e-mail to your more unique ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ e-mail address! A professional e-mail would consist of your name @domain name.com. Obviously some names are very popular so you can find an alternative including the following for John Smith:
Of course, you could always include your middle name and try other domains. There are quite a few free domains including:
If you search ‘free email domains’ you will come up with an extensive list.
Here’s an interesting one that a lot of people forget about. That pesky voicemail greeting you have on your phone. When job searching it is extremely important to have a professional voicemail greeting that includes your name (as shown on your resume) so the hiring manager knows they reached the correct number. Remember, once you land that new job you can always switch back to a creative or funny voicemail message. If you share your phone with other members of your household and would rather not personalize with your name, you can always switch your voicemail back to the automated voicemail or just record with your phone number so the hiring manager knows they did not dial the incorrect number.
Being professional with your dress and communication does not take much time. You may find that this is not noticed immediately by hiring managers, however if you lack in this area it is an instant red flag and will definitely hinder your chances. With how competitive the job market is, why not give yourself the best possible chance of landing that perfect job by following these three simple rules.