8 Habits that make you look unprofessional

Body Language

Do you want that higher paycheck?

Professionalism is key.

When looking for a job, you want to appear as professional as possible. Exhibiting the image a hiring manager is looking for brings you closer to securing an interview for that big paycheck. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to avoid displaying habits that scream unprofessionalism.

1- Make Sure Your Resume and Materials Are Spotless

This is a no-brainer, and yet, it’s so easy to let a careless mistake knock you out of the running. Whether you’re an internal or external candidate, your familiarity with the organization is not a reason to be casual on an application. Avoid any lingo, abbreviations, and slang.

Be sure that everything is grammatically correct and that there are no spelling errors. Proof it over and over then send it to a friend. You can even run it through Grammarly (that’s right, there’s an app for that). Bottom line, there’s no excuse for there/their/they’re mistakes in your application.

Photo by Markus Winkler

2- Read the Entire Job Posting and application questions

We know you’re eager to find work, but make sure you thoroughly read the entire job posting before responding. Did the job posting give you a specific timeline for when someone will reach out, or when it’s OK to follow up? Always be on the lookout for special instructions.

Recruiters like to narrow the applicant pool by posing detailed-oriented questions, so provide reflective and diligent responses.  These are “knock-out” questions and the computer will hide applications that do not meet criteria.

3- Using an Unprofessional Email Address 

Having a fun, memorable email address may impress your friends, but it won’t impress a hiring manager. Because your email address may be the first impression a manager has of you, ensure your address is professional. When it shows up in a manager’s inbox, you want to portray a professional image so the manager reads your resume and considers you for a position.

Photo by Kon Karampelas

4- Bad or Poor Social Media Presence

Expect to be searched online on all platforms. A great social media presence can help you land that job as it can demonstrate the positive aspects of your character. But be warned, because it can show your flaws as well.

It’s also time to shake off the cobwebs gathering on your LinkedIn profile. Make sure you’ve detailed your responsibilities and accomplishments at previous positions, and that all of your information is accurate and up to date. Because this is a professional site, lack of presence can make you seen out of touch with the market.

5- Poor eye contact

Eye contact is essential to building trust. One of the main things the hiring manager is evaluating is that they can trust you. Demonstrate that you can be trusted through answer affirmations, confident body language, and comfortable eye contact.

Interview Mistake to avoid
Photo by Tim Gouw

6- Off-topic or lengthy answers

“Tell me about yourself?” is the most common interview kick-off question.  Now, this is not an invitation to recite your entire life story or even to tell them about every job on your resume. Instead, it’s probably your first and best chance to pitch to the hiring manager. Focus on why you’re the best one for the job. We suggest you rehearse your answer to under 30 seconds to describe what your experience has been, what separates you from other candidates and what you are targeting in your new position or career path.

Getting a little off-topic is normal in an interview. However, staying off-topic will show the company representative that you will lack focus on the job. Even worse…. talking too much. Because chatty employees waste company time and money.

7- Not preparing for your interview 

Although you may be able to think on your feet, prepare your answers. Giving vague answers during an interview because you weren’t prepared won’t impress a hiring manager. The manager will think you’re lazy and don’t care whether you get the position. Before an interview, ensure you research the company website so you understand what they do, who their three biggest competitors are, and why you want to work for the organization. Also, thoroughly read the job description so you can give reasons why you’re the perfect candidate for the position.

8- Not sending a thank you note

Think it’s old fashioned? Think again, because thank you notes to seal the deal!  Send a thank-you note to acknowledge the time each interviewer spent talking with you and learning what you have to offer. This also a time to address some topics you discussed during the interview or left off discussion areas that could be key to the decision process. The most important thing is to close to the next step, “I look forward to discussing the position with you further”.

Thank you Note
Photo by Howard Riminton


Please check out more job search postings at www.agency8recruiting.com



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