Julie Walraven | ,| By
We all have something we should work on in our lives but some people bring more bad habits to their job search that hamper their ability to move forward or succeed in the job hunt.
True Story: How to make a really bad first impression
I am one of the few professional résumé writers who works directly with the client in my office (or virtually with Skype) interviewing the client for résumé content while writing their new résumé while they watch.
Not too long ago, I had a returning client come in for a résumé makeover because he was graduating with his Masters Degree in Project Management. This client came in with two soda bottles. One was filled with Mountain Dew and the other was almost empty with some kind of brown liquid in it. I figured that the dark one was the tail end of a Coke and he really was thirsty.
It wasn’t Coke! As I was trying to focus on finding his accomplishments and determining the best strategy to recreate his résumé, my client was spitting into the dark-colored liquid bottle. Unable to contain myself after watching him for a time, I asked him when he picked up that habit. He said it helped him get through long nights of studying during college. As the career coach who finds it better to ask the tough questions before the client goes off to an interview, I said, “You wouldn’t bring that to an interview, would you?” while wondering why he thought it was okay to bring it to my office.
I hope you were just as appalled reading that as I was seeing it. In your job search, you really have to think about making a good first impression. This should be evident in the rest of your life too but at no time in your life will you be scrutinized as closely as when you are in the interview process or job search mode.
What are the four bad habits that do not belong in your job search?
- Chewing Tobacco. If you chew tobacco, either quit or leave it out of your routine on the day of the interview. Not only is the physical act disgusting, your breath smells and if you drool on your shirt, you mess up your appearance. This nasty habit has all kinds of health implications too but if you will not stop, at least quit for the interview and any networking activities you choose to do.
- Drinking. I live in the heart of Wisconsin, a state known for its alcohol consumption, but I can tell you that having a drink to quiet your nerves is a very bad idea. Make an effort to remain sober for at least 24 hours prior to your job interview if this is a problem for you. Slurring your words at the interview is not a good idea.
- Smoking. Like the chewing tobacco, the smell of smoke is at best annoying and at worst can trigger migraines in some people. Do not have the last cigarette right outside the door of the company and certainly do not ask if you can smoke at a meeting.
- Marijuana. Some people have classified this as medicine but smelling as if you just had a joint will not make a good first impression either. No matter how you view marijuana from a political perspective of legalization, do not determine that it is a good choice in preparing for an interview.
All of the above have consequences to you and you alone can determine if it is time to quit but you need to leave them out of your job search and out of your interviews. The more seriously you treat the job search process, the more likely you are to succeed.