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How to Avoid the Hazards of Online Job-Hunting

In ancient times, applying for employment typically commenced with submitting a resume and cover letter. Nowadays, a handful of keystrokes is all you need to throw your virtual hat in the online ring, and the opportunities for mistakes, misunderstandings and malaprops have increased geometrically.


In need of a part-time assistant, I recently posted an ad on craigslist and received an alarming number of responses to my "add" on "craiglist," "craglist" or "cragilist." (One aggressive job-seeker, perhaps inspired by a tad too much Adderall, made reference to my "ADD.")

Maybe it's just me, but the misspelling of "ad" and/or "craigslist" did not work in a candidate's favor. Other responses suggested a few further tips for online job-hunting.

1. Make sure to proofread your name. Even a slight misspelling can spell trouble. In future, Sylvia, take care not to refer to yourself as "Saliva." This may result in an expectation of expectoration, which, let's face it, flies in the face of your mission.

2. Take advantage of both upper and lower cases. "i'm joy" isn't the ideal way to introduce yourself. Conversely, "I WANT TO KNOW EXACTLY WHAT THE JOB IS" may jar. Remember, you are applying for the assistant position, not "The Assistant position" or "the assistant Position."

3. Don't tout your command of the English language and then write, "i have small 4 cylinders car with excellent driving record." (Keep in mind that I'm more interested in your driving record than that of your car.)

4. Steer clear of deploying periods at the beginning of sentences and don't think you can even things out by omitting them at the end. For example, don't write, ".only work for few hours for same famly .children has grown up an gone of to college"

5. The employment section is not the dating section. Don't tell me how much you "love" running errands and paying bills. Don't send sexy pictures of yourself or say, "I'm 23 years young!!" Avoid "xoxoxo" in your subject line, unless the job involvestic-tac-dough.

6. Eschew exclamation points! If you can't resist the temptation, limit yourself to one and do not insert it randomly. "My name is Mary!!" will not impress. Do not put! an exclamation point in the middle of a sentence.

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7. Don't say you "commiserate with" or "is desiring of" the job.

8. Don't be too available. Would you want to hire someone who leads with, "I'm and (sic) unemployed musician and have alot of free time"?

9. Focus on the positive aspects of the job, not the virtues of the ad. "I like on your add" may undermine your appeal to discerning employers.

10. No "regards" except "Best Regards." You are not responding "in regards to," "with regards to" or "with regarding of" anything.

11. Persistence, yes. Stalking, no. "Feel free to call me" is fine. "WELL, CALL ME!" is not, especially when repeated three times within a 24-hour period.

[dc]12[/dc]. A twofer: Don't refer to yourself in the third person and don't use quotes to describe your strengths, as in "Mark is a 'go-getter,' a 'mover and shaker' or a 'self-starter.'"


13. If possible, use some version of your actual name. Such monikers as "Bigg Doggg" and "Awesome1" might be off-putting to sensitive hirers.

14. Please, please do not call yourself an overachiever. You're applying for a part-time job on craigslist. You may be over capitalism. Or over the whole career thing. Or even over the edge. You are not over achieving.

Michael Sigman
Huffington Post

Thursday, 7 November 2013