As a former hiring manager in several consulting firms, I often wondered if candidates were cognizant of the impression they made on employers. Related: How Hiring Managers Make Decisions Even small things, such as the frown displayed by an applicant upon arriving at an interview, or the worn-out jeans on an applicant in a roomful of suits, gave me pause as I worked to screen candidates. Ironically, many of the issues I spotted were easily fixed by taking care of seemingly minor issues. In some cases, these corrections would have made the difference in making the hire vs. taking a pass on the applicant! Here are 10 “little" things that make a big difference to hiring managers in your job search:
1. Your Digital IdentityYes, hiring authorities will be checking out your LinkedIn presence and verifying that your Facebook activity is not violating their corporate policies. But have you stopped to think about your Tweets or the content you're giving a +1 on Google+? Even the most realistic employer will need to assess your liability as a potential new hire. Therefore, your online activity must be sufficiently toned-down and presentable to a potential company—long before you enter the job market. If you've kept up a website on your middle-of-the-night gaming habit or constantly Tweeted your distaste for political candidates, these items can offend hiring managers—and cause them to rethink bringing you in for an interview.
2. Your HonestyStruggling to hide gaps in your work history on your resume? Failing to mention that new job you just took (that isn't working out)? White lies or sins of omission on your resume and in your interviews will come back to haunt you in more than one way. If interviewers don't catch these items during the resume screening process, there's still a chance that your background check will reveal all. Even after you're hired, your record of impeccable service won't make up for less-than-forthright stories on your resume or LinkedIn Profile. Stories abound of high-profile executives, entertainment professionals, and sports coaches who attended college but didn't graduate—and who paid the price for fudging these resume details years down the road.
3. Your AccessibilityAre you open enough on LinkedIn that others can contact you? Or, did you forget to make your email address (and possibly mobile number) visible to other users? Here are best practices for ensuring you're more easily reached on LinkedIn:
- From the “Edit Profile" menu, look under the box with your name and headline for “Edit Contact Info." Here, you can fill in your email address and phone numbers—but don't stop there! Also, add your email address to your Summary section, which will make it easier for users outside your network to contact you.
- Joining Groups is also an important step in becoming accessible to employers. Sharing a Group with another user means he or she can reach out to you for free (important to recruiters maximizing their LinkedIn budgets).
- Don't forget the Contact information section; select Privacy & Settings from the top right (hover the mouse under your name). Choose the “Communication" tab at the bottom left, and “Select the types of messages you're willing to receive." Add a paragraph in the “Advice to People Who Are Contacting You" box that includes your preference for email, phone, or LinkedIn messages.