1. E-mail address
What e-mail address do you use professionally?
If you're using AOL, or your local cable provider, you could be inadvertently shooting yourself in the foot.
Only 5% of new users at TheLadders sign up with AOL email addresses these days. If you're still using AOL to represent yourself professionally, it could be sending a signal that you're uncomfortable with new technology and that you haven't prioritized keeping your skills up-to-date.
Using your local cable provider's default e-mail -- whether it's bellsouth.net, optonline.net, or tampabay.rr.com -- increases the chances of a typo leading to a missed connection. Because people don't pay as much attention, or care, to what they're typing after the '@' sign, using less-familiar domains in your e-mail should be avoided.
More than 45% of new users at TheLadders use gmail.com. Because gmail is well-known for its utility, ease-of-use, and power, using gmail as your address is a smart move that also sends the message that you're up-to-date with the times.
What's before the '@' sign is important too.
Common 'household' or 'joint' email strategies such as 'jimandnancy@', 'smithhousehold@', or 'huxtablefamily@' are not good e-mail addresses to use for your professional job search. Professionals are accustomed to writing directly to other professionals. Requesting that they e-mail your spouse & kids when contacting you is awkward.
The best email address is your first name, followed by a dot, followed by your last name, at gmail.com:
If that's taken, then for the purposes of your jobsearch, add next year's number to your address:
You're probably going to be using this e-mail address into the New Year anyway and starting now makes you seem ahead of the times. And everybody wants to hire somebody from the future, right?
2. Can a stranger read your resume?
Print out your resume. Take the top third and rip it off. Hand it to somebody you don't know.
Can they tell you, without asking you any additional questions, what you want to do next?
For too many of our subscribers, the answer is no. The reason is that you're trying to do the wrong thing with the top third of your resume. You're trying to tell people about your character and your abilities and your many, many different skills and your flexibility and too many things!
You know what the person who is reading your resume is trying to find out?
"Does this gal, or guy, want this job that I have to fill?"
Obviously, given that you've spent the time to create a resume and send it to them, they know you want a job. But do you want this particular job?
Is it something that you've done before? If so, did you like it? If so, do you want to do it again?
Because you spend all of your time with yourself, it seems so very obvious that you want the type of job that you're looking for.
But strangers don't know that. And, chances are, you'll most likely be hired by a stranger.
So it's important that you make it easy for people who don't know you.
Show them, at the very top of your resume, what job you want, and why you're qualified for it. You're not naming every skill and experience, but you're giving the reader a sense of what you can do.
If they can't tell, by reading the top-third of your resume, what you want to do next, then you're never going to get to the next step.
3. Did you talk to a live person today?
The internet delivers you news, information, funny cat videos, electronic books, fashionable shopping, and, via TheLadders.com, the latest and greatest job listings at the professional level.
So... "hooray!" for the internet.
But here's the truth -- the internet is not going to hire you.
No, you'll be hired by a living, breathing, thinking, smiling person.
So the question is: did you talk to that person today? Did you try to?
It's important, while you're searching, looking, peeking and applying to all those great jobs you find at TheLadders, that you also realize that you need to make talking to people, live, in person or on the phone, a priority.
Have you called your old contacts? Returned the call from the company that perhaps you're only mildly interested in? Have you taken a former colleague to lunch? Did you call back the recruiters you've met over the past six months? Drop by a conference?
Connecting with people, live, in person or on the phone, is essential to getting hired. Too often, we fool ourselves into believing that self-directed activity is the best way to get hired. It's not. Connecting with others is.
If you're more of an introvert, more comfortable communicating by writing than by speaking, you can still connect with others. I'm not going to mislead you and say that it's better, but it's still sufficient if you write thoughtful, sensible blog posts, comments, e-mails and contributions on industry-related topics and threads. But it's important that you're connecting with others, not just yourself.
When it comes to getting hired, you need to ensure that every day is a "talk to a person who could potentially hire me" day.
Because eventually... they will.
So those are the three things you might be doing to sabotage your own efforts in the job search, Readers. Avoid them and prosper.
P.S. The fourth thing you're doing to sabotage yourself? 'Seasoned'. If you're using the word 'seasoned' to describe yourself... don't.
Put these tips to work on TheLadders - join for free today!
Marc Cenedella is the Chairman of TheLadders, the premier mobile and online job-matching service for career-driven professionals, which has transformed the way job candidates and employers connect online. Follow Marc on Twitter at @Cenedella.