One + September 2010 - (Page 38)

>> GET THE JOB BY DAWN RASMUSSEN, CMP << TMI at Your Peril EMPLOYERS WON’T ADMIT IT, BUT DISCRIMINATION HAPPENS ALL THE TIME DURING THE HIRING PROCESS. And you’re probably tipping off potential employers without even knowing it. Sometimes, hiring managers don’t like what they see based on personal biases, which can lead to the callous round filing of your résumé. They can always just shrug you off by saying they never received it at all. This kind of discrimination is difficult to prove, but can be avoided. Often, it’s your résumé that’s holding you back from the next level of the screening process. Use these criteria to dodge discrimination before it occurs. >> Beware the silly e-mail address. Got a social e-mail address? Great. Keep it. But your job search e-mail address should be professional (and remember to check it often). Use your name and don’t include numbers (such as your age, what year you were born or what year you graduated high school). Don’t include any information about personal interests that might also tip off employers. And if you have a common name such as Sue Smith, then keep it simple: You’ll 38 appear much more professional in an employer’s eyes. >> List no more than 20 years of work experience. Fifteen years of experience is actually your sweet spot, so if you can find some kind of break point, either in a different position with the same employer or at a different company altogether, then cut off your experience at that record. Let’s face it: Employers don’t care what your sales numbers were in 1984. >> Don’t include your graduation year. That’s like broadcasting your age, although candidates who have work experience and are now encore students would love to be thought of as newly minted 21-year-old college students. >> Watch your words. Words such as “seasoned” (an over-used résumé word to begin with) and “mature” are not your friends. You want an employer focusing on what you can do, not how long you’ve been doing it. >> Volunteerism and affiliations can help and hurt you. People who volunteer or belong to organizations often hold great respect for their groups. But consider the outcome if you proudly relate your connection to a political group and your potential employer falls on the opposite end of the spectrum. >> Pursue professional development. When you stop learning, you’re dead in the water. Demonstrate engagement in your career and industry by taking advantage of professional development opportunities that enhance your job-specific knowledge. Résumés are professional documents, and factors such as religion, political affiliations, age, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation should be kept out of it. And don’t even think about health. One of my clients volunteered for Lance Armstrong’s LiveStrong and Susan G. Komen’s Race for the Cure— both noble, cancer-fighting causes. But from an employer standpoint, seeing one listed might be OK, but two cancer-related organizations could give pause—is this candidate motivated by a personal bout with cancer? That could be a huge healthcare liability… …and the résumé is tossed into the garbage. Employers will make personal assumptions about you based on your résumé—biases that are not fair or legal, but are difficult to prove. To protect yourself, keep things out of your résumé that have nothing to do with your ability to do the job—unless they are specifically relevant to the position for which you are applying. You don’t know what employers are thinking or what might set them off, so keep everything relevant to your line of work or get used to the rejection letter. DAWN RASMUSSEN, CMP, is the president of Portland, Ore.-based Pathfinder Writing and Careers, which specializes in hospitality/ meeting job searches. She has been a meeting planner for more than 15 years and an MPI member since 2001. one+ 09.10

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of One + September 2010

One + September 2010
Energy of Many
Share Your Mind
Thoughts + Leaders
Five Years Later
What You Missed
Top Spots
TMI at Your Peril
Men Behaving Badly
You Can Go Your Own Way
Falling for Food
Breaking Bread
Community Service
Controlled Chaos
The Quick Guide to Keeping Your Top Talent
Generation Why
What’s the Right Risk?
Let’s Talk
Get an (Economic) World View
Your Community
Making a Difference
Until We Meet Again

One + September 2010