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Subtle Mistakes on Resumes Can Cost Candidates Interviews

Use of business contact information or cute email addresses can be the kiss of death

Most job search candidates are aware of the common mistakes, such as typos and grammatical errors, which can make a big difference in getting called for an interview. However, most candidates are unaware of the subtle mistakes they are making, including placing personalized or company email addresses and company or cell phone numbers, on their resume.

While some of these practices may seem harmless, there are valid reasons behind not putting this information on an employment search document.

"Many of my clients want to include their work email or phone numbers on their resume," says Kathy Sweeney, president of The Write Resume, a Phoenix, Arizona based firm which specializes in resume writing and employment coaching for clients via the internet. "I advise against this, because the question a potential hiring manager may ask is whether a candidate will search for a job on their company's time."

Further, Sweeney points out that if a candidate does get a call from a potential employer on a company phone, the job seeker may be in a meeting with their boss or client, creating a very precarious situation.

"When a potential employer wants to contact a candidate, they are usually ready to either interview them by telephone in a screening phase or want to set up a formal meeting. They do not want to be put off by a job seeker who needs to call them back or cannot talk at the time," says Sweeney. "The hiring manager only has a limited amount of time to speak to a potential employee and if the individual is unable to talk, they will go on to the next candidate."

Job seekers also need to realize that including a cell phone number on their resume can cause just as many problems. First, the candidate will be at a disadvantage, because they may not have their resume in front of them to answer potential questions. In addition, they may be in a social situation, where once again they may not be able to speak at length to the employer.

Sweeney says the candidate should control the timing of the potential screening interview. The best way to ensure the interview happens on the candidates' terms is to have a reliable home telephone number listed on their documents. If an employer calls, they will leave a message and the candidate can call them back when they are prepared and uninterrupted.

Sweeney also suggests that job seekers not allow their children to answer the telephone while searching for a new position. In addition, a professional telephone message system, with an appropriate outgoing message, is the key to an employer actually leaving a callback number.

"Many times individuals will have a cute message left by their child or a long, loud music selection on their answering machine. This will guarantee an employer will not leave a message," Sweeney says with a chuckle.

The other common mistake candidates make is to have a "personalized" email address on their resume. Cute email addresses should not be used. Rather, a professional email address, such as the first and last name of the job seeker at the internet service provider address is the best guideline.

Most internet service providers offer several email addresses per account. If a candidate does not have their own provider, free accounts are available from Yahoo and Hotmail. If a candidate has a common name, like John Smith, they can still utilize their name, but perhaps use some numbers at the end. Sweeney warns not to use the year of birth as those numbers, as it could lead to age discrimination.

"I had a client once who wanted to use "GreatBootyBabe" as their email address on their resume," Sweeney recalls. "I had to gently advise her that while it was fine to express her individualism to her friends, it was not professional and would send the wrong message to the employer."

Using a company email address is also another kiss of death. Many companies have a strong email policy and violating those rules can get a candidate terminated from their current position.

By following these simple rules, Sweeney says that job seekers will portray a specific image to potential hiring managers, which in the long run, may communicate their professionalism.

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