Job-hunting takes enthusiasm, concentration and a great attention to detail - not to mention an effervescent manner (even if that's not your usual nature) and infinite patience. As long as you're expending so much energy on getting a new job, you'd hate to think any of that exertion might be wasted. But these five job-search missteps can knock you out of the game - watch out for them!
1) Using a juvenile email address or phone message.
Now is the time to ditch that “partygirl109" or “buffdudexx7" email address, immediately. Get a free email account from hotmail, and come up with an adult-sounding handle. Same goes for your voicemail: get rid of the cute kids'-voice messages and funny Groucho Marx tapes. This is for real.
2) Using an electronically challenged resume.
Get your resume in shape, in three versions: hardcopy (looking professional, fitting the page, and printed on decent paper); plain text, to be sent in the body of an email message; and a Word document, likewise printable and readable and formatted to the page. A junky resume leaves a terrible impression.
3) Skipping the research.
As soon as you apply for a job online or via a print ad - or a friend, for that matter - do at least enough research to know what business the company is in, who its competitors are and where it does business. If the phone rings and you're clueless as to the company's business priorities, don't expect to fare well on a phone interview.
4) Being hard to reach.
If there was ever a time to keep your cell phone charged up, it's when you're job-hunting. NEVER leave a work number (unless it's your own company) or a friend or relative's number on a voice message for a prospective employer. Use your own numbers, and return calls promptly - same day, if you can.
5) Lying on your resume.
It's terribly easy for employers to discover falsifications on your resume, and it won't matter how long you've been with the company when the truth comes out: if you lied, you're fried. Tell the truth.
Liz Ryan is a former Fortune 500 HR executive, a workplace expert and the CEO of WorldWIT, the world's largest online network for professional women. Liz lives in Boulder, Colorado.