Is Your Cell Phone Ruining Your Job Search?

Sure, your cell phone looks innocent enough—it’s small, it’s handy, it’s even kind of cute. But it can be your worst enemy.

One of the most vital things you must do while searching for employment is to present yourself as professionally as possible. The best resume in the world is useless if your cell phone represents you in unprofessional or inappropriate ways.

Let’s tackle those unpleasant “Don’ts” first:

  • Don’t use ringback tones. Ringback tones are the snatches of music or dialogue that someone calling you hears instead of a traditional ringing sound.

    Usually, the goal is not to annoy your potential employer. Always assume that someone will be irritated by being forced to listen to music against their will. This rule goes double—no, quadruple—for offensive or risqué music that references sex, drugs, violence or religion.

    You’d be shocked how frequently people use wildly inappropriate music for their ringback tones. It’s like scrawling, “I COMMAND YOU TO NEVER HIRE ME!” in Magic Marker on a resume.

  • Don’t answer your cell phone in public or noisy places. It’s better to let it go to voicemail and return your potential employer’s call when you’re in a quiet location.
  • Never answer your cell phone while you’re at your current place of work. This is a recipe for double-trouble: It looks unprofessional to a prospective employer and can land you in hot water with your current boss.

Now for the “Do’s”:

  • Use a brief and professional voicemail message, and include either your name or phone number so that a prospective employer knows they’re contacting the right person. Avoid using casual or silly voicemail messages. And don’t use music either: It’s the ringback tone issue all over again. Music bad.
  • Turn your cell phone off during job interviews. Off. Not vibrate. Interviews are hard enough without your pants buzzing like an angry bee.

The Wrap

Like it or not, cell phone faux pas can harm you in the eyes of potential employers; always show them the professional you.

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