Feature: The 7 Habits of Good Online Communication

Feature: The 7 Habits of Good Online Communication

Feature: The 7 Habits of Good Online Communication

Poor communication skills. They can hurt you even when there are lots of open jobs, but when times are tougher, they can be devastating. Regardless of your profession, craft or trade, your industry or your years of experience in the workforce, the key to landing a dream job is clear, polite, business-like communications in all aspects of your job search, but especially on the Internet.

Interpersonal communications on the Internet typically occur as e-mail. Although these digital “letters” are easy to send and travel at great speed, they pose two very real challenges:

  • First, unlike with telephone conversations or face-to-face meetings, these written messages lack the supplementary cues of a tone of voice or body language to help the recruiter interpret what you’re “saying.” It’s not surprising, therefore, that half of the respondents in a survey conducted by Vault.com reported that the tone of an e-mail message was sometimes misunderstood.
  • Second, e-mail actually conveys two messages. The first is what you say. The second is how you say it. The grammar and vocabulary with which you express yourself add another dimension that recruiters can and do use to evaluate you as a prospective employee.
  • For example, I recently received the following e-mail message from a job seeker:

    nice site i don’t have time to spend hours to post a resume here it is post it tanks.

    Since I have no body language or tone of voice to help me interpret this person’s message, I must rely solely on their words and grammar. So, what has this person communicated to me? Well, I see a person who wants me to do their job; a person who didn’t take the time to proofread their message; and a person who is treating me as if I’m their friend rather than a business contact. How do I interpret those cues? I conclude that this is a person who is lazy, sloppy and lacks a sense of personal responsibility. Hardly the kind of impression that will lead to a job offer from an employer.

    To avoid making the same mistake, practice the following 7 Habits of Highly Effective Online Communication:

    1. Always do your homework. If you’re looking for a job, make sure that you send your e-mail to a person and/or organization with open jobs to fill. The message above indicates that the sender has been to my Web-site. If that’s the case, they should have noted that I am not a recruiter and do not post jobs or resumes. For me, the message was simply junk mail … and they were simply a “graffiti correspondent.”

    2. Always begin your message with a salutation. If you don’t have access to a person’s name in an organization, use the standard business greeting of Dear Sir/Madam. Why? Because just as with written communications, e-mail messages can be formal or informal. The kind of message that you would write to a friend is not the kind of message you should address to a prospective employer.

    3. Always follow the rules of good grammar. Capitalize the first words of your sentences and insert all necessary punctuation. A message to a recruiter is not the place to be playing e. e. cummings.

    4. Keep your message short and to the point.

  • If you’re sending a resume to a recruiter, introduce yourself, state the purpose of your message, summarize what you can do for the organization they represent and close.
  • If you’re writing to ask for information about the recruiter’s organization or job posting, introduce yourself, indicate what information you would like to have and why and close.
  • Recruiters are very busy people, and they appreciate messages that help them do their job effectively and efficiently.

    5. Always close the message with your name and contact information. Yes, I know that such information is usually (but not always) available in the address block at the top of your message, but why inconvenience the recruiter by making them scroll back up there to find it? In addition, many recruiters, especially those who are most interested in you, will want to establish contact by telephone, so provide your telephone number, as well.

    6. Always proof read your message several times. It’s absolutely essential that you eliminate all misspellings and grammatical errors from any and all communications. You only get one chance to make a first impression, so make sure it’s a good one.

    7. Always, always be polite. Communicate with others as you would like them to communicate with you. You don’t need to be obsequious, but at least remember to write “please” and “thank you,” when it’s appropriate in your message.

    The Internet gives you the ability to interact with recruiters quickly and directly. To make sure you send a message that will actually help you land your dream job, practice the 7 habits of good online communication.

    Thanks for reading,


    Section Two: Site News You Can Use

    Association of Corporate Counsel announced the launch of a re-designed job board for experienced din-house counselors with a broad range of legal experience. Called the Inhouse Jobline, the service enables lawyers to search a job database, post their resume (publicly or confidentially) and sign up for a job agent.

    CareerMetaSearch announced its launch as a recruitment portal for “employers only.” Job seekers can search a job database, post their resume, create a blog (an online diary) of their job search or join a forum and commiserate with others who are in transition.

    CollegeGrad.com released the results of a survey of employers that asked which factors were most important to them in new college graduates: the reputation of the school, a student’s GPA, their academic major, or something else. The responses, in priority order, were: the student’s major, their interviewing skills, an internship or other work experience, “other miscellaneous qualifications” (whatever that means), the student’s GPA, the reputation of their college, the student’s personal appearance, and their computer skills.

    ComputerJobs.com announced the findings of an in-house study to determine what employers are looking for in IT professionals. According to the site, the majority of open jobs now require three-to-five years of hands-on experience in multiple skill sets. Employers want some form of business, financial or management experience and expertise in such areas as network security and infrastructure, SQL database systems design and administration, and project management with a specialization in risk management. Employers seem willing to wait until they can find just the right person to fill their openings, but for those that can meet the grade, they are offering an average starting annual salary of $70-90,000.

    What Brand Are You? is a new site that will translate your name and personal values into a brand for You, Inc. Developed by The Design Conspiracy, it is a tongue-in-cheek play on the “silly, irrelevant and often unpronounceable” names now being assumed by companies seeking to distinguish (or camouflage) their products and/or reputation. If you’d like to see what your brand might be, visit the site. I entered my name and values and got back cultura ….. hmmmm, now if I could just figure out what that means.

    Section Three: Site Profiles

    Site Insite … how well do you know the Web’s 40,000+ job boards?

    1. You’re an experienced pharmaceutical sales rep looking for a new position with a U.S.-based drug company. Which of the following sites would likely be more headache than help?

  • Medzilla.com
  • AllAboutMedicalSales.com
  • HireRX.com
  • National Association of Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives (www.napsronline.org)
  • 2. If you’re an audit professional with Federal regulatory and reporting compliance experience, which of the following sites might help you land a job with a new company looking to go public?

  • jobsinthemoney.com
  • Auditnet.com
  • Complinet.com
  • The Institute of Internal Auditors (www.theiia.org)
  • 3. If you’re an experienced blackjack dealer who’s just moved to New Orleans, which of the following sites would have the best odds of helping you find a new position with a casino?

  • Dice.com
  • CasinoCareers.com
  • CasinoJobs.net
  • CardShark.com
  • (answers below)

    Site Spotlite … from the pages of WEDDLE’s 2004 Guides and Directories



    A WEDDLE’s 2004 User’s Choice Award Winner

    Post full time jobs: Yes

    Post part time, contract or consulting jobs: Yes – All

    Distribution of jobs: National: USA

    Number of jobs: 20,000

    Salary levels of jobs: $51-75K/year, $76-100K/year

    Offer a job agent: Yes

    Resume database: Yes

    How long are resumes stored: 500 days

    Restrictions on who can post: Registered on-site, those in a certain industry

    Other services for job seekers: Career/job search information, Links to other sites with such information, Confidentiality feature in resume database

    Answers to Site Insite

    1. AllAboutMedicalSales.com, a site for sales reps in the United Kingdom.

    2. All of the sites would likely be helpful.

    3. CasinoCareers.com; the other sites do not focus on casino recruiting or on jobs in New Orleans.