Thursday, May 17, 2012

Online Etiquette Tips for Job Seekers

Employees that bring refinement, sophistication and good manners into a new role are the true gem Job Seekers of Recruitment. Being polite, respectful and presentable is a sure way to communicate "good breeding" and as stuck-up as that may sound, these are the deciding qualities that set good Job Seekers form Great ones.

Etiquette, in plain and simple English means good manners. While we could get technical and investigate the way this term has been described in the Oxford Dictionary, for the purpose of applying good manners when looking for a job online, it's best to keep things simple and user-friendly as such.

While most think only to apply etiquette during face to face situations, in fact this is defiantly not the case and etiquette should be practiced, rather, during person to person interaction. Netiquette or online etiquette is a term given to 'good manners' displayed when interacting on the internet and is fundamental to finding a job online. Job Seekers need to familiarise themselves with basic online etiquette (netiquette) in order to make a good impression and ensure that the correct impression is being conveyed during the job hunting process.

Job Seekers should always remember that during face to face interaction with Recruiters, body language, eye contact and non-verbal communication reinforces good manners. However, when networking online, and applying to online job adverts, these factors are absent and success is solely reliant on the way in which you conduct yourself online.

While this may have just added to the pressure already experienced when looking for a new job, to follow, is a list of Top Online Etiquette Tips to assist Job Seekers in making a terrific online impression.

Tip One: You Online Job Application is Going to a Person, not a Machine

Some Job Seekers forget that while their online job application is facilitated via the internet using technology, it is still being received by a real, live, human being. While they may be out of sight, Job Seekers need always keep this in mind and remember that the recipient to all online job applications is in fact a person very capable of forming the incorrect perception based on poor netiquette.

Tip Two: Virtue still Applies in Virtual Reality

Apply the same level of virtue online as what you would during any other attempt at finding a new job. All of the same job seeking rules apply online as what they do offline. If you wouldn't behave in a certain way in a face to face interview or walk in, fax or telephonic job application, don't do it online. Maintain your level of integrity regardless of the way in which you attempt to find a new job.

Tip Three: If You Wouldn't Say it to Their Face, Don't Say it to Their Inbox

We all tend to be far more guarded when face to face with another person as opposed to looking at a computer screen. Always apply the netiquette rule, which is, if you wouldn't say it to their face don't attempt to type it in an email or job application. Swearing, profanities and offensive language is absolutely out of the question along with prejudice or discriminatory comments. 'Flaming', the expression of strongly held opinions expressed with a great deal of emotion should be kindly reserved for personal blogs or forums and should certainly not be expressed in an online job application or response to a online job interview questions.

Tip Four: Don't repeat questions that you already have the answers to

We are all human and tend to make mistakes form time to time, however many of these can be avoided by paying close attention to detail. Avoid asking questions that you already have the answers to by reading the online job advert with care and as many times you need to in order to gather all of the information listed therein. Don't ask Recruiters questions where the answers have already been detailed in the job advert or on the company's website. In doing so, this displays lack of proactively and poor attention to detail and is a poor show of netiquette. By all means, ask relevant questions required to assess whether or not you should proceed with the application but pay very close attention to information that is relayed before asking a question that will waste the Recruiters time.

Tip Five: Pay Attention to Spelling and Grammar

While this may not necessarily be a question of etiquette, with resources at your fingertips such as Word, Spell Check and online dictionaries, poor spelling and grammar is a big no-no online. Be sure to check, proof read and check again anything that you submit online or via e-mail to Recruiters. In most cases such errors are as a result of carelessness and will stand out like a sore thumb to Recruiters during the short-listing process. Don't allow silly spelling mistakes and grammatical blunders hinder your chances at filling a vacancy that could possibly be all and more of what you are looking for.

Tip Six: Respect Recruiters Time and Bandwidth

While broadband access is on the up and up in South Africa and bandwidth restrictions are improving, try to remain conscientious of Recruiters resources. Never send large files to Recruiters that may take up time and bandwidth when they attempt to download them. Your CV and job application documentation should not be too large that it successfully crashes a Recruiters machine or takes time to download. Avoid sending large files, photographs or graphics when contacting a Recruiter online. If this is an integral part of your job application (in the case of portfolios) rather burn this to a disk and deliver these by hand or alternatively place such information onto an FTP site (File Transfer Protocol, or file transfer program) that facilitates secure and easy online access by Recruiters.

Tip Seven: Presentation, Delivery and Content

Tip seven and the final in this series are fact brief but just as important etiquette tips for online Job Seekers to practice. Follow these mini online etiquette tips when composing, presenting and delivering your online job application.

* Don't ramble in your communication - Be concise and straight to the point when contacting online recruiters. Remember time is money and Recruiters are looking for a fast delivery of accurate and relevant candidate information.

* Don't abbreviate - Using abbreviations in your message does not necessarily make this shorter. Avoid using abbreviations txt language and jargon. Converse with the Recruiter displaying articulation, confidence and enthusiasm.

* Use Capital letters only where applicable - When compiling any form of communication online, when done so using only capital letters is considered aggressive and a form of shouting online. Unless visually impaired or making use of technology developed for Job Seekers with a disability (where the use of the 'shift' key stroke or multiple keystrokes is difficult) always converse with generally accepted composition.

* Don't mumble - Converse to writing in capital letters, mumbling online is where communications have no capital letter usage what so ever. Place effort in the composition of your online communication and display the best level of online etiquette available to you.

* Include a subject line - When contacting Recruiters online via e-mail, always describe the content of your communication in a concise and explanatory manner.

* Don't format -never use loud colours, fancy backgrounds or over the top font types. When displaying your professionalism and legitimate interest in the vacant role present your communication in the most conservative and expert way.

Exercising good manners and differentiating between superior and inferior conduct online is very much a 'people specific' skill. Based on culture, upbringing and they way we have learned to do things, influence the way in which we behave and respond to different situations. Culture shapes our conduct and our etiquette and consequently different cultures require different forms and levels of etiquette. Polite and correct online conduct needs to be respected and practiced across varying cultures so as to avoid insult or potentially upsetting someone without the intention of doing so.

Copyright (c) 2008 Camilla Patten

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