Virtual Appearance

Few job-hunters appear as professional as they do when they are at their jobs. If you were a VP/Sales, would you let a letter go out on computer-generated letterhead, let a potential customer get a busy signal (or repeated busy signals), or take all of your incoming phone calls on a cell phone that crackles and hisses? Many, and probably most, job-hunters do just this. Particularly when unemployed, job-hunters do everything they can to save money, and this works to their detriment. They have only one phone line which is constantly tied up on the internet, or busy from a teenage daughter, so you can never get through. Their main line is busy, so they take incoming calls on their cell phones, which usually have poor connections.

Spend a little money at the corner printer and get good letterhead printed. Get voice mail (available from your local phone company for about $6 a month) so people can leave messages when you’re on the phone (don’t use call waiting, which is insulting to the person you’re putting on hold). Don’t use a cell phone or internet telephone service (VOIP) – the quality is inconsistent at best, and sounding good on the phone is critical. Get a second phone line installed if you have a dial-up internet connection, so your main line won’t be constantly busy. You can get a free, dedicated fax line which delivers your faxes to you via email at These things aren’t really that costly, and may stop the person on the other end of the line from moving you to that call later pile which he never gets to. You may feel that you’re unemployed, and broke, and can’t afford this, but you are working on a $500,000+ project (you will earn at least $500,000 over the years on your next job), so you must spend some money to get there.

A final note about email: if you are looking for a job, TURN OFF YOUR SPAM FILTERS! Periodically, I’ll speak to a candidate, send them an email, and not hear from them. I often guess that this means that the candidate isn’t interested, and move on. A few weeks later, the candidate will call me and tell me that they just found my email in their spam folder, which they only check once or twice a month. A few weeks wait may cost you a job offer, so you need to turn off those spam filters, which don’t differentiate well between porn ads and legitimate contacts. You may have to endure some bootleg Viagra solicitations, stock tips for bogus companies and make-a-million-dollars-quick propositions from the Deputy Minister of the Treasury of Nigeria, but that is a small price to pay.