"Google-centric" world

September 2, 2008
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I get emails from safety and health professionals and others in the corporate world searching for new employment every day. I am surprised to see what people pick as their job-hunting email address.

Why would you want to use your company, school or employer email address on your resume or cover letter? That choice just asks for trouble. All responses will be recorded somewhere in your IT department. Your boss may be notified of your use of company time for personal affairs. Any attachments may be blocked by your employer’s spam filters.

When you leave your present employer or school any contacts you have made with potential employers or recruiters will be lost along with your email address.

Addresses with staying power
Start with an email provider like gmail. Check to see if your name can be used as your user account. Maybe your firstname.lastname@gmail.com or lastname.firstname@gmail.com is available. That would be the best choice. If there is a similar person already on gmail, then try Yahoo or one of the others.

These all offer forwarding services, and email services with unlimited storage and password-protected usage. Pick one and use it for job hunting.

I have seen much recent use of comcast.net, and att.net and so on. I am not a fan of these email accounts, either. They change too often. Remember earthlink.com or prodigy.com or sprintmail.com? All gone. With a faulty contact address and no way to reach you, your job-hunting friends and people give up. Stick with something that may be around for a while.

That should take care of the back part, after the @ of your email address. How about the front part?

Too descriptive
I have a lengthy list of all the inappropriate user names I have seen over the years. How about “drinksalot@” or “twinsfan@” or “Bikerguy@”?

When you send an email with your actual name in the return-to field, then contacts can easily know who they are responding to. It’s a great time-saver. Contacts don’t have to go to their database email lookup search box and find out who this message sender really is. Also, names are remembered easily.

Attachment names
When you attach a file or resume that is connected to job hunting, I recommend you name the attachment with your lastname, firstname instead of “Tom’s resume” or “RESDC5” or some such title. Then the recipient of the message can tell who the attachment belongs to and where to file the information.

Review your resume — seriously
Some of these items might seem a little petty. How about this one: Put your email address on your resume. Fully 15 percent of the resumes I receive have no email address on them. Why?

Because people take the resume they had ten years ago and keep updating it. They correct a phone number or address but don’t think of adding something that is absolutely essential today.

Recently I got a resume that has a company email on it as a contact point, and yet the present employer’s name is withheld. Some serious rethinking is required of that particular individual’s job-hunting methods if they want to stay completely confidential.

I sometimes get a resume with the present company name withheld and a comment stating, “Please do not contact present employer.” Now how would I know who not to contact?

Too much information
The use of social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace or LinkedIn has promoted the use of short summary statements about your professional career. These are displayed in Google search results. Think carefully about using these sites and what they may reveal about your life. These sites also are sources of insider information about you that prospective employers use frequently to check on you.

In addition to email addresses, I want you to get serious about photos and descriptions you use on the social sites. Be careful about the links you create, and the groups you choose to belong to. These are also very revealing and personal.

We are in an email, linked-up and Google-centric society. Use every aspect of these tools correctly and they will help you find a career path, but be wary of revealing too much of the wrong stuff about yourself.

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