On The Job: From Paper To Pro Page 6

Deb Shinder

Your Professional Presentation

Professional presentation: this includes the manner in which you present yourself, whether in person, online, over the phone, or on paper. Those "little extras" are what make you stand out and get the (positive) attention of the hiring authority. For example:

  • If sending printed material, use a high quality paper stock. What does that have to do with your qualifications to do the job? Nothing. Again, it shows that you care. Caring is something employers look for in potential employees.

  • Make sure your answering machine greeting is professional. More than once, I've heard of an employer calling a candidate back for a job interview, only to be put off by an offensive "humorous" message on the machine. When you're in the job market, you must present a professional image on all fronts if you want to increase your chances of being hired.

  • Ask yourself what image is projected by your email address? Like it or not, an AOL address, to many IT professionals, screams "obnoxious know-nothing." This may not be fair, but it's the way it is. There are legitimate reasons for using AOL's service (for instance, if you live in an area where there are no local ISPs). However, there are numerous free email redirector services that will provide you with a "better" address and redirect the mail sent to that address to your AOL mailbox. It goes without saying that you should not select one of the remailers that uses "cutesy" domain names, such as blinddrunk.com or psychofreak.net. Also, consider not just the domain name but the user name you've chosen for your email account. Does hotchick@mailserver.com or bigstud@ mailserver.net really project the image you want out there when you're looking for a job?

  • Another "little thing" that can make a positive or negative impression is the way you choose to sign your name. I know you're proud of all those hard-earned certifications - and you have the right to be. But please, please, please, don't include them all in your signature. "Joe Blow, A+, Net+, MCP, MCP+I, MCSE, MCSE+I, MCT, CNA, CNE, CCNA, CCNP, CCIE ad naseum" just reeks of "paper." It's like the new rookie cop who plasters "Police R Us" bumper stickers all over his car and flashes his badge everywhere he goes. Simply, it's bad taste. Put all those nice certs on your risumi, but for your sig line, choose one or at the most two that are most relevant to the position(s) for which you're applying.

  • Pay close attention to the "photographic evidence." If you enclose a picture with your risumi or on your job-related website, make it a photo that shows you in a professional pose and dress. Although some men make the mistake of using a snapshot taken when they were wearing a Budweiser tee shirt and baseball cap, this is an area where women more often violate the "unwritten rules." Glamour photos are popular and nice for the ego, but heavy makeup, fluffed up hair and low-cut ballgowns are not appropriate dress for a job interview, and they're not appropriate for a risumi photo, either (unless you're applying for a very different kind of job).

This article was originally published on Sep 18, 2000

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