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To Text or Not to Text

Tags:  Looking for work, e-mail

To text or not to text, that is the question. Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to use texting as a form of communication or to forgo it when you're looking for a new job. And your best bet right now is to forgo it.

The problem behind texting is that most young people who utilize it do so as an expeditious way to speak with friends. The corporate world and the people who work in it are not yet your friends. They are the decision makers that look at your resume and how you present yourself to determine if you are the kind of person they want roaming around the halls of their building. If you act overly familiar, unprofessional and immature now, when you should be putting on your best game face, how are you going to behave if they hire you?

If you want to understand how texting can upset your chances for getting the job you want, review these Guideposts.

1. Don't use e-mail slang.

As much as we would like to believe that the world of business keeps up with the world in general, the fact is that it doesn't. Popular trends that work in a social setting don't always translate into a work setting. That's why using abbreviations and emoticons when texting a thank you message to a recruiter or hiring manager is not appropriate.

In fact, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal earlier this year, "…some applicants are writing emails that contain shorthand language and decorative symbols, while others are sending hasty and poorly thought-out messages to and from mobile devices….These incidents typically involve college students and recent graduates, and recruiters say such faux pas can be instant candidacy killers because they hint at immaturity and questionable judgment."


2. The recruiter is not your friend; don't get personal.

One of the biggest problems with texting is that regardless if it's business or personal, texting cannot communicate those subtle nuances that accompany face-to-face meetings or even phone calls. Think about it, would you want to be fired by text message?

And when you use texting as a quick way to contact a recruiter or hiring manager, instead of calling or following up the interview with a formal thank you note, it says you're lazy, out of touch with common courtesy or, quite frankly, uneducated.

Add to this the problem of possible misinterpretation and you may find that the result of texting is a big misunderstanding, especially if the recipient is not up on the latest shorthand.

3. Don't chase or stalk the recruiter.

Okay, so let's say you've decided that texting your message is not the way to go. It is still important to keep in mind the rules of etiquette regardless of what communication method you choose. That means conducting yourself professionally even when you call a recruiter or hiring manager.

Everyone knows how tough it is to find that all-important first job. And with today's economy, there is a lot more competition. Don't give recruiters or hiring managers a reason to screen you out. Make all your business communications professional.

* When to Text and When to Not

For more information on this topic, see the companion Skills in Action video!


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