On The Job: From Paper To Pro Page 5

Deb Shinder

Your Language and Demeanor

Language and demeanor: you may be the whiz-bang tech genius of the century, but if you don't represent yourself, by your language and demeanor, as a professional, you'll damage your chances of being hired. This means:

  • Avoid slang and of course, profanity. Yes, "those words" are commonplace in the workplace, on television and practically everywhere you go these days - but a job interview is not the place for them.

  • Don't be irritating. This includes all complaining and whining, whether about your former employer, the job market, the weather, or anything else. It includes going into much more detail than necessary about your personal life and especially your personal problems. Employers want to hire people who are pleasant. This is a job interview - not a therapy session. Irritating behavior also includes "nagging" the interviewer for a decision at the end of the interview.

  • Spelling and grammar count in written communications. That includes e-mail. Of course, your ability to spell has little to do with how technically competent you are. However, it says a lot about how careful or careless you are. With the spell-checkers that are built into most email clients and word processors today, there is no excuse for misspelling words. The fact is, if you send a message, letter or risumi full of misspelled words and incoherent sentences, the impression the reader will get is that you're dumb - even if your IQ is at the top of the scale.

This article was originally published on Sep 18, 2000

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