The working world seems much more casual these days, with technology executives wearing hoodies to meetings and employees drinking beer in the break room on Friday afternoons. But that casual atmosphere doesn't necessarily translate to the job search process, and taking a too-casual approach can make you seem rude, unprofessional – and not worth hiring.
So, whether it's learning how to shake hands properly or cleaning up your social media profile, it's time to learn the correct job-seeking tips and techniques. Here are some of the things you need to think about:
1. Clean up your social media profiles
Before you ever begin your job search, you need to take a long, hard look at what you've posted online, and what others have posted about you. Since one in three employers have rejected job candidates because of something they have read about them online, you must make sure your various profiles are scrubbed clean of anything that could be deemed controversial (passed-out-drunk photos from a frat party, for example).
Change as many settings as you can to Private and use sites like LinkedIn or Twitter for posts that show you are up on industry trends – not ranting about politics or taking pot shots at celebrities.
2. Be polite
When considering job-seeking tips and techniques, it's not about whether you consider something rude or not – it's about what others consider rude. It's a good bet, then, that checking your Instagram feed during an interview, swearing when you become impatient at a job fair, or slurping your coffee during a networking event isn't going to be seen as polite behavior. Look to properly shake hands (dry, firm, one-handed shake), and address each person by his or her title (Dr., Ms., Mr.) and last name (unless the event is extremely informal — then you can use first names).
3. Dress for the occasion
For job-search events or an interview, formal or business casual is typically the expected attire. If you're not sure what to wear, it's always best to overdress than to show up looking too casual.
"Your shoes should be shined and your clothes should be pressed and spotless. No hanging threads, tears, or missing buttons. Hair should be freshly combed and nails clean and trimmed," advises the Emily Post Institute when providing job-seeking tips and techniques. "Use an extra swipe of antiperspirant, but lay off the cologne." If you're looking for additional guidance on how to dress for a job interview in 2018, check out this article from Suzy Welch: How to Dress for a Job Interview in 2018.
4. Be punctual
One of the biggest etiquette no-nos is arriving late. Whether you're going across town or across the country, always be familiar with your route and practice it if possible. Also, build in extra time for if you get lost, run into street closures, or have parking problems.
5. Use good telephone manners
When thinking about job-seeking tips and techniques, also consider that a phone interview is often the first contact you have with an employer. For that reason, don't try to do a telephone interview while you're driving, eating, or waiting in line at the bank. Find a quiet room (no noisy kids or barking dogs) and have a copy of your resume and talking points nearby. Also, remember to smile and stand up while talking (if possible). Doing both injects your voice with more energy and strength.
5. Be knowledgeable
Study information about the company and its leaders before going on a job interview. Read mission statements, check out recent press, and do some LinkedIn investigating of employees in the department you might end working in.
Being ignorant of what a company does is insulting to the employer (not to mention the interviewers you're meeting with), and you should go in prepared with questions about the company or the industry, or preferably both.
Failing to be inquisitive is considered rude and lazy – it shows you don't care enough about the company or industry to even ask more about it.
6. Don't whine
Don't complain about a former boss, criticize past or present colleagues, or appear downtrodden because your car needs a new radiator and you had to take the bus. Dumping a bad attitude or personal problems on a potential employer in an interview or during a networking event is impolite (to say the least). It makes you seem incapable of handling life's curve-balls, and no employer wants to feel they're hiring a toddler who still has tantrums.
7. Give your full attention
Give a hiring manager your full attention or you could wind up blowing your job chances. "For example, it is typical for a hiring manager to describe the job or how the company goes about things at the beginning of an interview. It is the kiss of death when, later in the same conversation, you ask for information you've already been given," explains Arnie Fertig, founder and CEO of Jobhuntercoach.
8. Avoid interruptions
Don't clutch your cellphone in your hand like it's a binky. Put it away, and put it on Mute, so you're not distracted by its pings or beeps. Make sure you visit the restroom before the interview and avoid glancing around the room during the interview. The person sitting across from you should have your undivided attention.
9. Eat and drink smartly
Some hiring managers schedule a lunch interview just so they can observe your manners – and decide if you could be around important clients or bosses without causing great embarrassment. Avoid alcohol and messy foods (think pizza), and take small bites so that you can always chew quickly and answer questions without your mouth full. Also, do not change your order or send food back, and always be polite to the servers.
10. Always show appreciation
Employers often complain about job candidates who don't show appreciation for the time and effort of those they meet in an interview or in a job fair. Distinguish yourself from the rude masses by writing a brief thank-you note to each person you met regarding a job. To do this, be sure to collect the business cards (or at least jot down the email addresses) of everyone you interview with or meet at a job fair. Taking this extra step allows you a chance to really stand out; it can also be your ticket to a job interview or even a job offer.
Finally, remember that when considering job-seeking tips and techniques, well-mannered job-seekers gain an edge — especially compared with job-seekers who are either rude or are simply clueless. By following these job seeking tips and techniques, you will be on your way to giving yourself that extra boost that may help you land the job of your dreams.