Why Professionalism is Important for Job Seekers

If you are a job seeker, there is probably a lot on your mind.  You’re working on getting your resume edited and up-to-date, trying to stay abreast of the most recent job postings, and scheduling coffees and informational interviews.  While these are all important aspects of a job search, don’t forget about professionalism.  Here are a few tips to show an employer that you have professionalism on your mind.

1)      Always say thank you.  This seems like a no brainer, but you would be surprised by how many people forget those magic words.  Sure, it takes time to write someone a thank you note, but it’s the right thing to do.  Not only did that person take time from their busy day to talk or meet with you, but they probably offered to help you as well.  Show them your appreciation by sending a hand-written or electronic thank you.

2)      If someone offers to help, take them up on their offer.  One of the biggest pieces of feedback we receive from employers is that students and recent graduates do not follow up on offers for assistance.  If you meet with someone who offers to help you in any way, follow up with them.  Their help may lead you to a job contact or any number of wonderful things!

3)      Read and re-read all correspondence.  If you reach out to a potential employer or networking contact, your correspondence should be error free.  This task is fairly simple with spell check and grammar check readily available.  If you still have questions about how an email or cover letter sounds, ask a professional to read your correspondence before you send it.  Just because your email signature line asks readers to forgive your typos, this does not mean an employer is obligated to.

4)      Know your audience.  If at all possible, find out to whom your email or cover letter should be addressed.  Try to avoid “Dear Sir or Madam” at all costs.  Also keep in mind that women should be addressed as Ms. not Mrs.  Sign your name at the bottom of a letter and scan it as a PDF before you send it.  Employers and professional contacts notice these errors, even if they may seem small to you.

5)      Pay it forward.  If you have the opportunity to help someone who helped you, take it!  When someone takes the time to assist you, show them you appreciate it.  Consider sending them information about an event they may enjoy, or the name of a person with whom you think they would connect well.  Always keep the “pay it forward” mentality at the forefront of your mind when you are a job seeker and you will meet with more success.