Do You Sabotage Yourself

Posted by Rob Riggins

self sabotageHow do you present yourself to the professional world?

Some think if you can fog a mirror, you can get a job in the current cleared employment environment. While odds are certainly in your favor right now, as a job seeker with desirable skills, you still need to value professionalism if you want to find the best fit for yourself. You might even be sabotaging your chances for new and exciting opportunities by portraying some simple undesirable behaviors.

Many of these behaviors may not offend most, but most will certainly offend someone, potentially taking you out of the running for that position with an employer you’ve wanted to work with for years. It really is all about professionalism, so take steps to be sure you’re not making silly choices that impact your career negatively.

Unprofessional Email Addresses. Your friends may love your quirky email address but it’s not what you want to present in a job search. I just did a quick scan of people who registered on our site this year and found these email addresses, which don’t exactly convey a professional image:

  • bighair@
  • bigbore@
  • sexybutch@
  • iknowkungfu@

For job search purposes, choose a version of your name and add numbers if necessary. Your email address should not be the thing that makes you stand out in the recruiting process.

Inappropriate Voicemail Messages. A 3-year-old’s message on the phone may be adorable to grandma, but not so adorable when it goes on forever, and you’re a recruiter in a rush. The voicemail you use in your job search should be as professional as the voicemail you leave on your office phone number.

Controversial Social Media Topics. Many individuals in the cleared community are not on social media, but that’s a discussion for another day. Some recruiters do check your social media profiles and some do not. At minimum, be sure that you maintain a professional decorum on professional networks such as LinkedIn, in professional Meetup groups, Slack channels for professional organizations, and so on. What are you liking, sharing, or saying? Political or religious posts? Other non-professional controversial topics? Steer clear of these, as you never know whom you may offend.

Spelling and Grammar Errors. Have you spelled a key technology wrong? Do you have some resume bullets that are present tense and others that are past tense? You’re not going to offend anyone by having an error free resume, profile, and thank you note. However if you do have errors, that’s a signal to many recruiters and hiring managers that the rest of your work may be sloppy, or that you haven’t taken the time to take the process seriously.

Radio Silence to Recruiter Inquiries. A shocking number of job seekers don’t respond to employers’ inquiries. In fact, it’s one of the most discussed issues by recruiters. If you have high-demand skills, you may feel inundated by recruiters and while you may not be interested this week, next week or the week after may be a different story. That highly touted new VP your company just hired may be a tyrant who drives you crazy, and the tables may turn. If you can, acknowledge these inquiries and thank them for thinking of you. Always think to the future and work to build bridges before you need them.

Treating Others Poorly. It’s astonishing how many talented professionals think that certain individuals — the receptionist, the person walking you to an interview, the recruiter who makes the initial contact — are beneath them and proceed to treat them poorly. What message does that send about how you would represent the company or the agency?

Or you may be very knowledgeable in your job and think that your initial interview with a younger recruiter is a waste of time or is your opportunity to express displeasure. Maybe you think a certain spec for a job isn’t useful or required. While you can ask about that, you shouldn’t be arguing and telling them it’s not right. These are people who can help you, so treat them, and everyone you encounter, with respect.

Many of these issues sound trivial, yet they can be self-sabotaging behaviors that keep you from the position you want. Talk to your friends and mentors and ask them to look at your resume. Ask them about how you present yourself professionally and whether they see any red flags. These may be difficult conversations to have, but they’re worthwhile to ensure that you’re not making small missteps that keep you from being the successful cleared professional you wish to be.


This entry was posted on Monday, December 10, 2018 1:44 pm

2 thoughts on “Do You Sabotage Yourself”

  1. I’ve had some recruiters be pretty rude and obnoxious in the past. I try to reply with a thanks but sometimes I really don’t have time. Recruiters need to be aware of the candidates time. I’ve had recruiters hangup, keep me on the phone too long or want to chat about nobusiness things. The worst is a cold call and the recruiter does not ask if its a good time to talk.

    I have have recruiters ask me to modify my resume for proposals, enplane technical terms that are in their reqs and try to get my colleagues phone numbers. I’ve really gotten to the point that I am very guarded with my time.

    I think there are somethings that recruiters need to learn about dealing with candidates.

    1. Same thing happened to me. I applied with one recruiting company back in November 2016. Gave all necessary documents over to them. There was a recommend a friend type thing on their website and so I’ve put a couple of my buddies who are getting out of the Military on there too. Lo and behold, my buddy got hired first, I’m not hurt by that. I felt used by them and they made me wait for more than a year and not even communicating with me on my status. Luckily, another company found me on a weekend and started processing my paperwork that coming Monday and now I’ve been with them for six months. Learned a new trade in my job field, in which they’ve trained us in. I guess showing loyalty to a recruiting company doesn’t pay off nowadays.

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