8 Ways Your Contact Details May Be Turning Off Employers

Writing a resume is no small task, but one part that seems like a no-brainer is the contact information section. Unless you are suffering from amnesia, you know your name, where you live, and what your own phone number is.However, it’s not quite that simple. Your contact information is arguably the most important part of your resume, as this is the only means employers have to reach you for an interview!Many job seekers commit major blunders in their contact information, however, that can turn off employers before the first paragraph is read. Be sure to avoid the following eight pitfalls to maximize this simple — yet vital — section of your resume:

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1. Listing current work phone or email address

Though rarely enforced, most companies implement policies barring use of office equipment and internet services for personal use. Your job search certainly qualifies as personal, so keep it out of the office. Keeping your job search a secret from your current boss is only one of the pitfalls. Listing a work-related email address or phone number on your resume sends a negative message about your professionalism. A prospective employer could infer that you are abusing company time and resources, and that’s certainly not a good first impression.

2. Including your name and email only on the first page.

Envision how many pieces of paper must cover the desk of a hiring manager shortly after he or she publicly posts an open position. Now picture him or her sifting through dozens (if not hundreds) of resumes and misplacing a page. If no name is on that page, it may as well be in the garbage.

Don’t risk being discounted from consideration because a portion of your resume was lost. Be sure to put your name and contact information on each and every page of your resume to avoid this preventable scenario.

3. Providing a phone number that’s not caller-friendly.

Giving only phone numbers that make it easy to contact you may sound like common-sense advice, but unfortunately it isn’t always obvious. Without realizing it, job seekers who block lines from private calls or forget to clean out a full voicemail box for three weeks sabotage themselves. Making it easy for a busy employer to contact you is crucial, because rather than track you down, he or she is more likely to just move on to the next candidate.

Additionally, be cautious if you share the telephone line with your family or roommates. For example, if your teenage daughter uses the phone constantly but never answers call waiting or you live with your sister who is terrible at taking messages, perhaps your home phone line is not the best number to provide. A cell phone is usually the phone number of choice, but with newer technology offerings such as free Internet-based voicemail boxes, the modern-day job seeker has plenty of options.

4. Not verifying that the outgoing voicemail message sounds professional.

Using funny recordings or having small children as the voice a caller hears telling them to leave a message may be amusing or adorable to your family and friends, but it’s not going to make a professional impression on a prospective employer. Even though it’s your home and your right to do whatever you like with your own voicemail, the best message is brief and generic. Start making your first impression in person during the interview rather than through an insignificant message that could make you seem silly.

5. Listing an email address that’s a bit too personal.

If you chose an email address that refers to personal information, it’s typically not advisable to use it when applying for a job. Furthermore, using your birth year as part of an email moniker could lead an employer to figure out your age, which subjects you to age discrimination. (Though it’s obviously illegal, age discrimination is still alive and well in today’s job market, not to mention difficult to prove.) Be sure to let your qualifications speak for themselves.

Even if your hobbies are wholesome, they won’t put you in a professional light. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with “DogLover23” or “SailingAceJohn,” but such names don’t support a professional image. A simple solution is choosing an email address that contains your first and last name. This not only presents a polished image, but makes a sender’s identity clear. Seeing an email from “SailingAceJohn” in my inbox won’t tell me immediately which candidate it is, especially if I received 12 resumes from people named John! With such an abundance of free and reliable email providers, it’s easy to set up an account you can use exclusively for your job search.

6. Omitting a city / state.

Posting a resume online can be a scary thought for many, since contact information is out there in cyberspace. Nevertheless, an address is ideal to show the reader where you are located. Most job boards offer a job seeker the option of keeping contact information private. A good compromise, however, is to at least include your city and state so employers know whether you are a local candidate.

7. Opting for a nickname over a formal name.

Your birth certificate says your full name is Michael, but your friends call you Mickey. That’s fine, but remember, a prospective job lead is not your friend. Your resume is a formal marketing document, and as such should contain your full legal name. Once you interview for the position, feel free to tell the person or persons interviewing you to call you whatever you prefer, but until that time, it’s best to maintain a formal and professional tone.

8. Not hyperlinking an email address.

Hyperlinking your email address gives hiring managers the option of contacting you with one simple click! Why would anyone pass up this type of opportunity?

There may be more to the contact section of a resume than meets the eye, but optimizing this information for a successful job search is easy if you know the impression each detail makes on employers. (Now if only creating the rest of the resume was this simple!)

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Hot Career Tips for the Unemployed

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

Research Analyst, New York, NY
Account Coordinator, Los Angeles, CA
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If you are presently unemployed, your days are likely spent scouring job postings, emailing prospective employers and submitting your resume to online websites. Even the most dedicated jobseekers, however, probably have too much idle time on their hands. With no set hours or routine, it could be very tempting to get lazy.

Before you resort to sleeping into early afternoon or reaching for the remote control, there are several ways to make productive use of this time.

Here are just a few suggestions as to how you can maximize downtime that will not only keep you active, but will make you a more attractive job candidate:

Perform charity work where you can utilize your professional skills.

There are dozens of ways you can contribute work-related talents for the betterment of your community. Signing up for a volunteer post within an established organization is only one option. If you get creative, you can carve out your own niche.

For example, if you are a marketing professional, find out if your favorite charity needs help launching their latest awareness campaign. A teacher can look into helping a local literacy organization. A sales professional can help an organization find donors and raise money. A technology professional can assist with a nearby school’s computer upgrade.

Such activities not only enhance self-worth by aiding a worthwhile cause, but they also enrich your qualifications and demonstrate to an employer that you are keeping your skills sharp while unemployed. You’ll likely make valuable contacts as well. You never know who you will meet! It could just be the person volunteering next to you is looking for someone with your qualifications or knows of a position opening up in the office next door.

Accept a temporary or consulting gig.

With unemployment at the highest it has been in more than two decades, it could take a little longer to land that dream job. Broadening the scope of positions you are willing to consider may mean you have to make some compromises. If you are adamant about accepting only a full-time job, you could be inadvertently doing yourself a disservice.

If you impress an employer during the course of a temporary assignment, it could lead to bigger and better things. After all, what better way is there to convince a boss what you are capable of than actually showing them? The best case scenario is that you are offered a full-time position and your search is complete.

The flip side isn’t so bad, either. Even if it comes to an end, a temporary position will help you earn some money, make some contacts, and provide an additional credential to include on your resume. That will help fill in the dreaded employment gap while showing employers your skills are not getting rusty.

Take a course related to your field.

Whether it’s a college course for credits or a one-day seminar, enhancing your education sends an excellent message to anyone in position to hire you. It exhibits your desire to keep your skills current and shows you are using your time wisely.

To make the most of this benefit, be sure to enroll in something related to your work. Though taking a course for personal enrichment can be rewarding, it simply won’t carry as much weight as something relevant to your field. For example, a partner in an accounting firm will be more impressed with a candidate who learned about the latest tax codes than one who took a photography course.

If you participate in any of these activities, don’t forget to update your resume and cover letter to let employers know. Finally, remember that while these activities will keep you busy, don’t neglect your job search. Job hunting should always be considered your number one “job” while you are unemployed.

About the Author:

Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of GetInterviews.com, the country’s leading resume writing firm. They provide professionals with customized, branded resumes and career marketing documents. Her and her firm’s credentials include being cited by JIST Publications as one of the “best resume writers in North America,” quoted as a career expert in The Wall Street Journal, and published in a whopping 25+ career books. Established in 1994, the firm has aided more than 100,000 job seekers to date. All resume writers are certified writers. GetInterviews.com offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee — interviews in 30 days or they’ll rewrite for free!

The Best Resume for a Bad Economy

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC GetInterviews.com

M&A Analyst, New York, NY
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With unemployment at its highest level in more than 25 years, many professionals are out of work for the first time in their careers. Things may look bleak, but for those worrying they will have to go from earning six figures to minimum wage, take heart. Though no one wants to settle for a job that is far below one’s worth, there is good news.

There are some creative strategies a job seeker may consider that will not adversely impact his or her long-term career outlook. In fact, just a few small strategic changes to your resume can instantly increase your job-hunting prospects even in these rough economic times.

Broaden Your Scope

You may have spent your entire career in one industry, but it may be time to also look around for positions in related fields. If you not are willing to settle for anything less than your dream job, go for it — but be willing to wait. For most, especially those already out of work, finding a job as soon as possible is important. That doesn’t necessarily mean you must settle or take a step down. All that’s required is an open mind to consider a comprehensive range of lateral possibilities.

For example, a human resources professional who specializes in recruitment may now branch out into related functions such as employee relations, benefits administration or even generalist positions. A laid-off newspaper copy editor could move away from the struggling newspaper industry and apply his or her skills for technical writing or public relations roles. A real estate sales representative can look into sales positions for other industries by emphasizing his or her transferable skills.

To compete with others who may have had more direct experience, you can level the playing field by highlighting valuable transferable skills on your resume rather than focusing just on specialized experience.

Don’t Get Hung Up on Titles

Instead of seeking out positions based on job title, it may be time to adjust your strategy or you risk limiting your prospects. Concentrate on job descriptions rather than titles. This doesn’t only apply when looking through postings, but also when it comes to branding yourself correctly on a resume.

Rather than listing a very specific job title as your objective, indicate something more general. A more general objective will broaden your appeal to recruiters and hiring managers weeding through resumes.

Don’t Fall Into The Overqualified Pile

You may have far more experience for a position than required, but you still want to be considered for the role. Downplaying your achievements is never advisable, but if you are a job seeker with “too much” experience, simply avoid going back too far on your resume. After all, highlighting accomplishments from 1976 will usually not help you anyway since it is from so long ago. Employers are most interested in your recent experience.

As a bonus, you will avoid another pitfall in the process. Discrimination of any kind is, of course, illegal, but unfortunately, it does happen. As a general rule, there is usually no compelling reason to go beyond 20 years on your resume.

Don’t Agonize Over Employment Gaps

It wasn’t too long ago when a resume reflecting any gaps in employment was taboo. It was thought to raise glaring red flags, implying something amiss in your job history. In a robust economy, it’s understandable for an employer to question why a jobseeker didn’t work for a long stretch of time. But in times like these, an abundance of well-qualified people are out of work through no fault of their own. It is simply reflective of our times.

That’s why there’s really no reason to be overly concerned about gaps in a resume — within reason. If you haven’t worked for six months, it doesn’t really require an explanation these days. If you’ve been out of work three years, that’s a different story. In such cases, it’s usually best to tactfully indicate the reason right on the resume to prevent an employer from speculating.

Minimize “Job Hopping”

In tough economic times, many jobseekers accept temporary assignments or perform consulting work as they search for permanent positions. Such experience is valuable because it not only helps pay the bills, but also demonstrates a strong work ethic and shows you are keeping your skills sharp. However, listing a series of several jobs over a short period of time on your resume could project an inaccurate image of a job hopper to an employer who is just giving your resume a preliminary glance. The best way to present this on your resume is to group consulting work together so you showcase your contributions without giving it too much valuable space, adversely impacting your overall presentation.

There’s little we can do to change the economy, but with the right strategy, your resume can help show your true worth — even in today’s tough job market.

About the Author:

Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of GetInterviews.com, the country’s leading resume writing firm. They provide professionals with customized, branded resumes and career marketing documents. Her and her firm’s credentials include being cited by JIST Publications as one of the “best resume writers in North America,” quoted as a career expert in The Wall Street Journal, and published in a whopping 25+ career books. Established in 1994, the firm has aided more than 100,000 job seekers to date. All resume writers are certified writers. GetInterviews.com offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee — interviews in 30 days or they’ll rewrite for free!

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Resume Strategies for Career Changers

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC GetInterviews.com

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Are you considering a change in direction in your career? If so, you are not alone. Economic downturns often result in consideration of new, more lucrative career directions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American will change jobs at least ten times over his/her lifetime and will make a complete career change three times. A thirty-year career with one or two companies is no longer the norm. People move, change jobs, change companies, and change their minds on a regular basis about what they want to do with their working life. Handling that change on the resume can pose a challenge to job seekers.

In the past couple of years, we’ve seen many people who have lost their careers due to the economic situation. Mortgage, real estate, and construction industries have dried up from underneath the professionals who worked in them. As a result, these individuals and professionals in other distressed industries are often seeking to return to a career field in which they previously worked, posing a resume challenge.

Returning to a prior career field creates an organizational problem with the resume, especially if the most recent career field is not well-related to the earlier one. How can you show the employer you have good experience in business analysis, for instance, if the first thing they see on the resume is your experience in mortgage sales? The challenge faced is establishing the focus of the resume from the start. That means a powerful summary and core competencies section right at the top.

A summary is the most important part of the resume. It has to establish the focus of the job search, show how you are qualified for that focus, and engage the reader to read further into the resume. If the summary does not engage the interest of the reader, he/she will not give the rest of the resume the attention needed to clinch the call for an interview. In a career change situation, the summary is even more important because it has to do double duty – persuade the reader to continue reading and set the idea in the mind of the reader the job seeker has the right qualifications, even if they are not exemplified in the most recent employment experience.

The wording of a career-change resume is crucial. Most career fields have similar base functions – customer service, team work, project work, or business sense. Some have similar skills such as sales and customer service; business analysis and financial analysis; or operations and project management. Other career fields are very dissimilar or require licenses, certifications, or specialized training. Regardless whether where you are going is similar to where you are now, the wording of the resume in terms of similar functions, common duties, and supportive accomplishments can help you make that switch.

Additionally, selection of information can make a significant impact on the effectiveness of the career-change resume. Often, the most important factor in information selection is what is excluded from the resume. When making a career change, it is very tempting to “throw in every fact” in hope that it will have some kind of impact in the mind of the reader. Unfortunately, the result tends to be opposite. Too much information overwhelms important facts and the reader has trouble seeing the real qualifications in the “static”.  When constructing the career-change resume, consider information presented to the reader very carefully. You have a limited amount of space to make your argument and you don’t want to waste it with irrelevant information that does not support your goal.

It’s not just what you’ve done in your career; it’s what you’ve achieved. When making a career shift, showing good performance can help you make the jump, even if the performance is not in your new career field. Skills will take you only so far and then it’s more a matter of attitude, drive, and willingness to learn. You can show those traits by demonstrating how you’ve performed well in your career to-date. Employers are more likely to give an opportunity to someone who shows drive than someone who just shows skills on the resume.

Career-change resumes can be challenging to construct. Make sure you understand clearly what the requirements of your target job will be in terms of both hard skills and soft skills. Look at your experience clearly to identify what will transfer well. Identify points of achievement that demonstrate an attitude of ambition. Coalesce all this into a document that sells your performance while showing your transferable skills and you will have a winning career-change resume.

About the Author:

Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of GetInterviews.com, the country’s leading resume writing firm. They provide professionals with customized, branded resumes and career marketing documents. Her and her firm’s credentials include being cited by JIST Publications as one of the “best resume writers in North America,” quoted as a career expert in The Wall Street Journal, and published in a whopping 25+ career books. Established in 1994, the firm has aided more than 100,000 job seekers to date. All resume writers are certified writers. GetInterviews.com offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee — interviews in 30 days or they’ll rewrite for free!