The Electronic Job Search
How to make your computer and other gadgets work for rather than against you.The more things change, the more different they are.
New technologies bring new challenges and new customs. With the advent of the email resume from templates come new rules for behavior and bigger and better ways to annoy or impress the recipient of your resume.
Computers and Email
- Keep your virus protection updated. Sending Trojan horses speaks poorly of your attention to detail and annoys recipients no end. AVG currently offers excellent free virus protection.
- Send each addresses a single email. Do not broadcast your resume to multiple employers or recruiters. It smacks of sloth and arrogance and makes the recipients sense that you do not restpect them.
- Double check that the name on the your email or cover letter and the name of the person you are sending it to are the same. You can do this by sending yourself the mail first, checking it, then resending it to Joe Dokes. It's too easy to click and sent the wrong document.
- Always open your attachments and check before you send them. It takes a minute or so, but you can avoid a lot of embarrassment by making sure you are not sending something you accidentally misnamed.
- Put your contact information not only on your resume but also on your email. You can use a sig or signature to make sure that all outgoing mail has your Information. Be sure that your email address is on your resume as well as your email. I don't know how often I have deleted a message only to realize that I couldn't call the person because he assumed I would keep it.
- Title your resume with your full name. I prefer ":DoeJohn.doc, but John Doe or John Doe Sommelier Resume.doc will do fine. Every hiring authority receives thousands of my resume.doc and resumerestaurant.doc. Your name shows a lot of sense. It makes you easier to find and sets you apart as a person with a sense of detail and organization. To change the file name, right click on the file icon and click rename.
- Avoid dumb email names like. Cokehead21@msn.com email@example.com. JennaPastry@aol.net or ChefJohnDoe@Gmail.com is fine.
- Send your resume in a common format unless the employer asks for a specific form. Chefs' Professional prefers Word or Rich Text Format (RTF), which cannot transmit viruses. Very few people can open the few resume writing programs still on the market. Adobe (PDF) is not for resumes but for advertising and better left to that purpose. HTML and Text are not advisable for attached resumes.
- Avoid electronic cuteness, flashing banners, animated figures and other experiments on your resume. Because you can format it in bright vermillion with scrolling chartreuse titles doesn't mean you should.
- Turn your spell checker on and automatic correction off. Automatic correction will change sous chef to sauce chef and garde manger to garden manager. (To turn AutoCorrect off click >tools >AutoCorrect. Clear ":replace text as you type.":)
- Choose a good email subject line which includes your name. The subject line should be something like Joe Jones' resume, Manager Position, or Job application for Joe Jones. Blank subject lines or subjects like ":Hello": ":HI":, ":Hey' or update are common on spam and virus email, so spam filters often delete them. ":I am the chef for your job": won't impress many.
- Put your full name in the email. Don't send a message from firstname.lastname@example.org with a message that you are interested in the open position you discussed last week. How is the guy staring at his screen to know who the Sam Hill 7882restq or even Richard is?
- Templates: There's a resume template in nearly every word processing program. The only reason not to use it is that your resume will look like everyone else's . If you are uncomfortable about writing a resume, it's a good way to start. But be sure to save the resume as a word file (.doc) and not a template file (.dot), as the latter is suspicious for virus infections.
- Change a xxx.dot template to a .doc Word document before sending. Don't send template formats, which contain macros. Most spam filters weed them out and they may not open correctly on another computer. The extension (last three letters) on your resume should be .doc with a ":C":, not a ":T":. If your file extension ends with ":t":, open the file, click ":save as": and safe it as a Word or better yet, a Rich Text file, which harbor no virus threats.
- Never send an email asking a future employer to pick up a resume from an online link. It's tacky, arrogant and rude. I would never hire someone who doesn't have the energy to write and forward to me an individual copy of his background.
- Web sites are great for a lot of things. We all like show ant tell, but be cautious with your own web sites. For one thing, dedicating a web site to your talent makes you look pretty full of yourself. I think twice before getting close to candidates with pictures of themselves all over the web. Using your web site to share what you love, as long as that's not just yourself, is a good thing.
- You can with the many easy web programs now available keep a portfolio of your work on the Internet. While you shouldn't force your information down potential employers' throats, it's nice to be able to say that you have some of your work stored on your site, if they would like to see it. The same goes for menus, links to places where you have worked..
- Respect mail box limits. Don't send huge amounts of unsolicited material. Instead let the recipient know that you have photos and other information, if she should care to view them.
- Send zipped files only when requested. They often don't unzip.
- Add the domains (this domain is chefsprofessional.com , for instance) of the people to whom you send mail to your approved sender or white list. That's the list of people who aren't blocked by your spam settings. You don't want someone who to be rejected. Look in your web mail security settings to do this.
- Check for bounced messages after you send off resumes. Expect a response to most resumes sent within a few days. If you don't get one, it's all right to call and inquire if the resume arrived.
- Use the message body as your simple cover letter. Don't get fancy. Tell employers your intent and your interest. Don't turn it into a marketing campaign, but use it to relay facts that will mean something to the reader.
- You should usually attach a resume, as cut and pasted versions take a lot of time to fit back into a word document. If you don't know how, look a the help file of your mail program. You can also paste a resume into the body of the mail, but attachments make things easier for the recipient.
- If someone else mails your resume out, have them insert your email address as the sender. Don't count on the recipient to switch to a different address in the body of the message.
- Backup your resume to an outside disk. Better yet, keep a couple of copies on CD, one in the sock drawer, one in your files, etc. When your hard drive blows, you won't be up a creek. (external backup drives are terrific, but keep that CD just in case.
- Never use your working email address to send a resume. Never use your employer's computer. It's bad form, and you will probably get caught.
- Think twice before posting our resume on an Internet site. If you do, use an email address arranged expressly for the purpose (which can be forwarded to your regular address), to reduce spam. Do not post your address and phone number on the Internet, and for heaven's sake, do not post anything like the number of a work visa, drivers license or other identifying number.
- In responding to Internet ads, cut and paste part of the ad into your email. It makes it easier for everyone.
- Email makes it easy to follow up and say thank you. You are going to be looking for a job again. Once you are situated, you should call, thank and update people with whom you have worked closely, but a short note with updated information to anyone with whom you have spoken is generally appreciated.
- Google. Need we say more? Google the firm before you go for your interview. Google before they call you. Online research of future employers has never been easier, and knowing something about the company before an interview is only positive.
- Google yourself. It has also never been easier to find out about candidates, and lots of firms are doing just that. Many who have posted to forums while in their happy place, or who have impossible myspace profiles are turned down. If your myspace program shows you wearing nothing but a dishrag on your Can Cun getaway and lists your interests as ":babes, drugs and hot cars": you might want to do editing early on. Many if not all forum entries can be deleted by the poster. Google yourself and see where you find you. Remember that the Internet is not a private place. Better than cleaning up after yourself, don't get gnarly in the first place. Just remember that you are out in the open when you post.
- Myspace, Facebook and the rest: Nobody knows what help these sites will be right now. I think at this point enjoying the exposure without overly exposing yourself is the best approach to social web sites. You can keep a personal profile on some which is not available to the public. I would not, howver, post a resume. But then, you don't need to. If you use them and intend to use them for career purposes, think twice before sending silly cards like ":Boys are stupid. Throw Rocks at them":. Funny as it is, it might not amuse a potential employer. Remember again that your preferences, your humor, your fun wall and all that is visible to the outside. It shows your level of maturity, for instance. Act accordingly.
More and more employers are moving away from faxes. Don't assume that an employer wants a fax. Ask how your resume should be sent.
If you are actively seeking a position, it is your responsibility to be available. A dicey answering machine on a single home phone shared by a dial up connection is not sufficient. Getting a message late at night is dicey. Missing calls or getting them days later is bad for a job search.
If you have only one home phone line and no DSL, make sure that you have call waiting and that your line will ring through if you are on the computer. There are still a couple of gizmos around for this.
At the very least you need voicemail of your own.
Turn off your cell phone during interviews. Don't even put it on vibrate.
Figure out where the hot spots in your area are before you get the call with the job offer. When you phone from work, try to find a quiet place. Multi stall bathrooms are poor choices. Broom closets and walk ins better, or an office where you are alone.
Your family love you. Your friends and roommates do to, and they can do your job search considerable damage if they share the love with a potential calling employer. It's wise to explain to those sharing your phone that you would appreciate their just taking a name, message and number. Especailly your mother.