Take this latest Associated Press item, for instance, supported with notes from The Five O'Clock Club, a New York City organization that offers career counseling. Some of the ideas contained within are just a bit out of step for today. Number two ("Embrace snail mail for your first contact") sounds like it has reasoning on its side (email's easy to delete!) and may work in a limited number of situations, but in most cases (and with hundreds of resumes to get out), it's just not practical. Letters are just as easy to throw away(!), and your missive will probably find itself in the exec assistant's circular file unless it comes in a lime-green or lace-trimmed envelope. Neither is advisable, and it will only be saved long enough for a novelty trip around the office anyway. (The FOC does recognize that snail mailed interview thank-yous will likely arrive too late to affect the hiring decision.) And "Stick with landlines for calls to prospective employers"? Do those even exist anymore?
Nonetheless, some advice is worth repeating; avoiding email blasts and "getting personal" (i.e. customizing pitches, and including a contact-in-common, where appropriate) both make solid sense. Another recommendation ("manage your digital footprint") has emerged as one of the most important aspects of job hunting/networking in the aughts. (Future employers won't usually appreciate your late-night, bleary-eyed Facebook pics or links to web sites on tattooing.) FOC's president Kate Wendleton offers one more item for the etiquette-challenged: Don't send a follow-up e-message with bad grammar or punctuation issues, or one that's peppered with smiley faces or other emoticons -- "There is no circumstance where that is appropriate."
Do you have any gaffe-filled job search horror stories? Please send them along -- our readers will gain "valuable insight," and we could sure use a laugh, what with tracking layoffs all day. . .
--Posted by Todd Obolsky, Vault News & Commentary
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