Simple Ways to Avoid Looking Unprofessional

There’s a lot of work involved in getting a job. Beyond investing in education and training, leveraging networks, searching through postings, tailoring your resume and cover letter for each application, and all the other hoops to jump through… you think you’d be poised to land something. But in such a competitive market, employers are examining candidates more closely than ever before.


Fortunately, most job search mistakes can be easily eliminated with just a little effort on your part. Here are a few to consider before, during, and after the interview.

Before the Interview

This is when you want to make a good impression, even in the smallest of ways. Three commonly neglected points that can impact that impression are:

  1. A “clever” or cute email address. It may be memorable, but for the wrong reasons. This will make an employer question your judgment.
  2. Not proofreading your resume and cover letter. You don’t want to look like someone who can’t put together a professional document or pay attention to details.
  3. Silly outgoing voice mail messages. Wait until after you’re hired to record a funny message that could make someone with hiring power hang up the phone.

The Interview

You could be their dream candidate. You think well on your feet. No one expects you to know everything. But none of those are reasons to bypass researching the company, the position, and preparing for the interview. You might be able to charm and schmooze your way through a variety of situations, but a potential employer won’t be impressed with your lack of preparation. All it signals to them is that you don’t care enough to do the basic footwork to have an intelligent conversation about the job. At the first sign of “winging it”, many employers will mentally cross off your name from their list and move on to a candidate who did their homework.

Think this tip should fall into the “before the interview” stage? Good. You’ve got the right mindset.

After the Interview

Remember how your mom was always on you to write thank you notes after you received gifts? Well, consider the interview a gift definitely worth a polite note of thanks. Not only is it an excellent way to keep your name in front of your potential employer, it shows a level of professionalism and follow-through. Email notes are perfectly acceptable nowadays. Just remember to proofread before you hit send.

Some of these points may seem trivial, but small details can make or break a job interview. They also add up to an overall impression, and the more you pay attention to giving a good impression, the more likely you’ll be seen as a competent professional ready for a challenging new opportunity. [/two_third_last]

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