I am frequently disappointed by the lack of attention to detail by the many members who write to me. There are so many things that are easy to do, that no one seems to do.
Let me start with my primary concern – the lack of outgoing signatures. Incredibly, some emails I get aren’t even signed. A proper outgoing signature contains your name, address, phone numbers and email address. Adding one is so simple that it doesn’t bear explaining. If you aren’t using one, just click “Help” and search for “signature.” If you are wondering why no one is writing back, this may be why.
Is your name Pat, or Leslie? You might want to let folks know somehow if you are male or female. I’m sure YOU know, but if your sex is a secret for some reason, and if you tell me that this is something that happens all the time (the confusion), you might want to consider steps to avoid surprises. The same thing applies to names that contain upper case and lower case characters. Yes, I know in outplacement they insist on putting your name in all upper case on your resume, but I have to tell you that if my name were Von Bud, McBud, or Mac Bud, I would want it to appear correctly. The same thing goes for the companies at which I have worked. One of the firms was CBS. It wasn’t Cbs. I want it to be clear which way it should appear. If someone is writing to another person about me, I don’t want them to be embarrassed by making a mistake because it might hurt MY candidacy.
One of my oldest job hunting tips in this electronic world is emailing your resume to 10 friends and having them scan back what it looks like on their end. I can’t believe how many 4 page resumes I still get with widows on the even number pages. (A widow is one or two lines on the following page.) Not using hard page breaks, leaving extra lines on the last page so your two page resume is three pages, as well as other attempts at faking the formatting, are so common I could scream. Although it may look nice on your computer, special fonts and narrow margins can come up really ugly on other computers with different printer drivers. Everyone should know that.
File names are another area where using upper case and lower case can add to readability. I hope no one is using resume.doc, or that indication of really having worked on your resume of resumeRev58.doc. Your LastName-FirstName.doc is the only way that the person at the other end can actually SAVE your resume to their hard drive.
If your name is Matthew, as is mine, do you go by Matt? I do, and I want others to know, so I SIGN my messages that way. I don’t want anyone to feel like a stranger or to feel embarrassed by calling me incorrectly. If you are Robert, do you go by Bob, Robert or Rob? Any of these choices could be correct. Do I really need to be put in the position of guessing? (This is why we have a “greeting to use” field in our membership database.
Typos. This one could go on and on. I actually got a message recently with Manhattan spelled Manhatten. Yes, I know there are folks from out of town, but speling is important. (Yes, I know I didn’t spell “spelling” correctly in the last sentence.) Has anyone heard of spell checker? Do you think it might make sense to use it if you are applying for a high paying job? May I answer yes?
Reads and follows directions. I did a full editorial on the importance of actually reading job postings. I seem to remember as a Chief Financial Officer making sure who the check was to be made payable to. It was only infrequently “dear sir or madam.” I may be a lot of things, but I am not a madam, and anyone who writes to me that way when I have an assignment to fill for The FECG is certainly going to “lose points.”
Well, enough complaining for tonight. Call me a fuss budget, but I like to get things right, and I would hope that you do as well.
Take a few minutes to go back and dot the “i’s” and cross the “t’s.” You will find it is time well spent. Our profession is one in which attention to detail is EXPECTED. Make sure you present yourself accordingly.
Close enough only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.