The first impression you give an employer is the most important one. That first impression includes email, phone, fax and other electronic communications, as well as your resume and cover letter. If you have a bizarre voicemail message the caller might decide not to leave a message. A wacky email address could get your message, and your resume, into the trash mailbox.
So, before you seek employment make sure you have the appropriate tools for a professional and business-like job search.
Job Search Toolkit
Email Address Appropriate for Business Use
There are a variety of free Web-based email accounts that you can use. Setting up a new email account for job searching is especially important if you have a work account, but, no personal account.
Instant Message Screen Name
If you're using an Instant Messenger service for networking or job searching, make sure your Screen Name sounds professional.
Don't use acronyms (like u for you or TTYL for talk to you later) when communicating by email. It's not professional. All your employment-related communications should be as professional (and proofread) as the letters you send on paper.
Answering Machine or Voicemail
If your telephone service provider doesn't have voicemail which will pick up if the line is busy, consider an internet answering machine to field calls while you're out, on the phone, or online.
When sending paper resumes and cover letters, use good quality paper in a traditional color. White or beige is best. I wasn't impressed with the resume I received on hot pink paper or the bright green one.
Your resume needs to include contact information as well as work history and skills. Proof your resume to verify the phone number, email address and other information is accurate. I've had situations where I wasn't able to reach candidates because there was a typo in a phone number.
Keeping track of where you've sent your resume, who you've networked with, and when you are going to follow-up is important. Broadcasting hundreds of resumes isn't going to do you any good if you can't remember where you sent them. Set up a directory on your hard drive for job searching and include copies of all the cover letters you send. That way you'll be prepared when you're called for an interview. Also set up a folder for job searching in your email client so you can track email inquiries you send as well as responses from employers. Use an appointment book, notebook or online organizer to keep track of interviews and follow-up email messages and phone calls you'll need to make.
I might be considered old-fashion by some, but, I like to keep track the old-fashioned way - by writing things down. If you are so inclined, consider using a notebook to keep track of your job searching applications, resumes sent, follow-up calls you need to make, and most of all, your progress towards job hunting success.
I recently read about a company that told all its employees that casual dress was a casualty of the dot com depression and the new dress code was professional business attire. Add a conservative business suit, traditional shirt or blouse and moderate shoes to your toolkit.
Now, get going on your job search... Ready Set Go!