While fielding resumes for our womenworking.com internship, we have come across plenty of glaring mistakes. The Internet is an excellent tool for your job search and it can speed up the process, but if you’re not careful it can also slow you down. Finding a job (online or off) is serious stuff and you want to present yourself professionally at all times. Don’t get trapped by these common online blunders.
Clean up your act
You may have heard it before, but it’s important enough to mention again. Prospective employers will Google you, so be sure your cyberspace image paints a pretty picture of you as the model employee. Remove any inappropriate photos, messages, music, or applications from your Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter profiles, including any tasteless comments your friend’s post on your wall. Google yourself regularly and keep your online image under control.
Make it personal
Email makes your search faster, but don’t go overboard—mass emailing your resume to 50 companies at once is a definite ‘No!’ If your email doesn’t end up as spam, employers will immediately categorize you as lazy and you’ll be deleted anyway. Take the time to personalize each and every email you send—if you are sending to more than one person within the same company, send each person a personalized email and copy (CC) their co-workers.
Mind your address
Sending out emails from firstname.lastname@example.org might be cute for your friends, but when it comes to resumes you need an address that screams young professional woman. Create a separate account for your search—use your first and last name or some version of your full name @ hotmail, gmail, or yahoo.
Spell check your emails
Treat email like a professional method of communication when you’re connecting with a potential employer. Just like you would if you were typing up a cover letter, start sentences with capital letters, use correct punctuation and spacing, and be sure to spell check. Proofread your email and then have a friend or family member read it over as well.
Watch your attachments
As more and more computer viruses pop up these days, companies are wary of opening attachments from unfamiliar sources. Consider pasting your cover letter and resume into the body of the email, as well as attaching them. When you do attach documents, save them with a name that is clear like JaneSmithResumeFeb10.doc. If you’re working on the newest version of a software program, resave your documents down a notch—most people won’t be able to open the latest version.
The Internet isn’t perfect and you can’t assume your email was received. Be pro-active—wait a week, then send a short follow up email to confirm they received your application and let them know you’d be happy to forward any additional information they might need to consider you for the job.
Pay attention to directions
Don’t call or send snail mail if an online job specifically requests you apply via email. And read through the entire posting to make sure you qualify for the particular opening. Sending out resumes may go faster via email but that doesn’t mean you should just send a million copies to any and every job.