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Employment Tips

Online Job Search – Good Manners Get You Hired Fast
By:Mark Baber

Certain digital protocols influence the outcome of a modern job search. Since the exchange of vital hiring information is often performed using online and other digital communication devices, it’s more important today than ever before that a serious job seeker use good digital manners – known as ‘netiquette’ – to adhere to the norms of courtesy that have become expected by employers and other workers who routinely process many job seekers.

Good manners are almost always appreciated, especially in the faceless world of digital communication. As you conduct your job search in the digital realm, it's important to begin and end each communication with polite good manners, as if you were writing a personal letter – which is exactly what you are doing! Emails, text messages, web page forms, online chat sessions, such job related communications are often swift exchanges, so there is little effort to be detailed. Short, to the point responses prevail. In such a digital realm a quick email reply to a potential employer, or text comment to an HR rep, meant to convey humor -- may be misinterpreted, and instead may be found to be opinionated, or terse or demanding or nonsensical, because it is short and carries no details to set the premise of good communications. However your comments may come across, if they come across wrong, it will quickly stall a growing interest from a potential employer. Don’t take the chance.

As a society, our training in manners and etiquette is mostly based on our expectations of friendly face-to-face communications. It extends from there to include telephone, postal mail, and media based communications, and now digital exchanges. Even though there are numerous advantages to digital communication, there is one big drawback -- no direct voice or personal contact. Consequently, it is easy to misinterpret what someone has typed on a keyboard, as far as tone or emphasis of message is concerned. So job seekers should make great effort so all their job search documents express specific ideas and concepts, and are friendly, and polite, as though addressing a real human being – because they are!. Employers will appreciate your efforts, and the message about your value to their company will get through faster.

Therefore, it is to your benefit to understand some basics about general business writing styles. When you write and/or post your résumé or other job search documents, apply common sense to the composition. Don’t vary from what makes sense and what you’ve seen other people use successfully. You don’t have to be an English Professor to have a good resume. Yet, a job seeker can lose a good job opportunity if they submit resume documents whose text is all in capital letters, for instance. Not only is such a document difficult to read, but in the digital realm it sends multiple messages – like how it suggests the job seeker can’t follow guidelines, or how they may be willful or undisciplined. And, in fact, for many people who communicate regularly in the digital realm, typing words in all caps is the same as shouting at someone. That’s just one example of how easy it is to send the wrong message to a potential employer, and do it without realizing it. Use good rules of writing. Use good rules of conduct. Be polite as you begin and end digital communications.

Mark Baber

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