A day doesn’t go by when I don’t get at least five or more requests for job search assistance. I also get lots of requests to “glance over resumes” or for “referrals to my network.” As much as I love helping people succeed, these requests are not from paying clients but from complete strangers or people I barely know. Imagine how my clients would feel if they knew I was giving away the farm for free. I also wonder what other career faux pas these “professionals” are engaged in. Bear with me now. This is not a rant; it’s solid career advice. If you want to be taken seriously as a professional candidate, you should avoid these three career faux pas.
Avoid Being Red Flagged
When I receive these requests from complete strangers, a red flag goes up. Is this the impression that they’re making on potential employers, too? I would never think to contact a recruiter at Google Inc. and ask them if they could quickly review my resume so I can send it off to a couple of other companies. In fact, the recruiter would not only instantly delete my email, but they may “red flag” me for any future opportunities or referrals I may request. Don’t be red flagged. Consider how your request will be received, who the best person to send it to is and what proper protocol is.
Stop Milking Coffees
There was a great article in Entrepreneur Magazine last year entitled “Don’t Be an Askhole.” The author’s hilarious spin about people trolling for free favors was spot on. My clients know how to make any “coffee meeting” mutually beneficial and avoiding being…well, an “Askhole.” There’s nothing worse then being invited to a relaxing break over coffee, just to find out you’re going to be milked for free advice or sold vitamins! Instead, make it a win-win by bringing to the coffee some sound advice, ideas, offers or connections.
Don’t Snub Volunteering
When I’m not working with, or for, my career coaching clients, I like to volunteer my services for a local non-profit where I coach, train and critique resumes. This is what I do for free. I cannot stress the importance of giving back to the community enough, not only for the rewards of the process and the joy of giving, but, let’s face it, for the career perks, too. My clients who volunteer discover that joy is quickly infectious, trickling positivity into their current work or job transition. It’s also a great way to connect with others who may help you advance your career. Volunteering is the right and smart thing to do.
Take Some Free Advice
Okay, I can’t completely say “no.” If you’re looking for free advice, please check out my Resources page where there are plenty of workbooks and whitepapers to help you be a professional success and avoid any future career faux pas.