10 things NOT to do when searching for a job online

Would you expect a senior cardiologist to put a beach selfie on her CV? Or an experienced accountant to contact you from an e-mail address “witch26”? Well, such things occur even at senior level recruitment and while they bring funny stories for the recruiters, they can also severely affect the recruitment process. You wouldn’t like your beach selfie to prevent you from getting a top paid job, would you?

The Internet has changed the way we search for jobs.  Now we can google our dream vacancy, send our applications within minutes and use social networks to connect with recruiters. However, many candidates make mistakes when applying for jobs online as they confuse using the Internet for professional and personal purposes. Things go harder when you search for a job abroad as CV format required in different in UK from Spain or France. Social networks also confuse candidates; how to communicate with a recruiter on a site you use to share your private photos or jokes with your friends?

So, here are 10 tips that might seem common knowledge to you, but whether you are applying for your first job or for a senior level position, please keep them in mind. I have written this post mostly for candidates who apply in English for jobs abroad, but you can also follow these tips when you search for jobs in your own country.

Hope you’ll have fun with my  “not to do” guide! cropped-hanna.jpg


 E-mail is an old tool to apply for jobs, but our experience shows that there are still many candidates that do not master even the basics of mailing recruitment etiquette, mostly very young professionals who only start to develop their careers. So, read on!

  1.  Do not send an empty e-mail with your CV attached.

 You do not need to spend ages writing a book at your e-mail body, but it is necessary to write a short cover letter. Even a brief note, explaining who you are and why you are applying for that vacancy is more than welcome. It is good to personalize each cover letter and explain why you would like to work for that particular company.

2.     Do not save your CV as “CV in English”.

Or whatever you call it in your own language. Recruiters have to deal with hundreds of applications every day and we do not like wasting our time renaming every CV that comes in. A CV should be signed with your full name, this way it will be easier for us to organize our work. 

3.  Do not use a “funny” e-mail address.

 Admit it, “witch26” or “funnyboy112” does not sound professional. Take your time to create a professional e-mail address (firstname.secondname@) and you will see how it makes a difference. 

4.  Do not send your CV in a group e-mail.

Imagine that a newly graduate  nurse decides to search for her first job in a healthcare and, in case she’s not accepted, she decides to send her CV also to Mc Donalds’s, a few retail stores and a local supermarket. And she puts all of these institutions in the “C.c” field.

No nursing agency wants to know that you also consider a career in retail. What is more, if you write a group e-mail you can’t personalize your application for the needs of different posts or companies. So please, take your time and send your applications one by one. It will work for you!

5. Do not tell personal stories.   begging

It is highly inappropriate for a recruiter to ask candidates about their relationships, family life, religious beliefs or personal budget. So do not approach these topics, either. No matter how hard your financial situation may be, do not beg the employer to give you the job so that you could feed your 3 kids or pay mortgage.  “I want to go work in UK because my wife and me love fish and chips” or “Manchester UK is my son’s favourite team” are not the right sentences to include in the cover letter, either. 

Always stay professional and convince the recruiter that you are the right candidate for the job.  Your skills and experience matter!

6. Pictures: selfie is not an option

First of all, only send a picture along with your CV if you are asked to do so by the recruitment consultant. Otherwise, double check if it is common to put a picture on your CV in the country where you are applying for a job. While CVs with pictures are more than welcome in Spain or Switzerland, you should never include them in UK.
If you are asked by a recruitment consultant to put a picture on your CV, make sure it’s a professional and quality head-shot photo. A full body picture showing off your scrubs in a consulting room is a good one to hang out on your wall, not to put on a CV. Nor is a “selfie” as it looks unprofessional. duckface


 Social networks enable recruiters to approach candidates in a more informal and friendly way. You can use LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to find a lot of great job opportunities and contact recruiters who are happy to meet candidates that can fill their openings. You can join professional groups to discover new vacancies posted.

However, you must remember to stay professional even if you see a job offer on your Facebook wall among selfies and kitten pictures. Are you ready to become a social media savvy professional?

 7. Do not use funny nicks.

Just like an e-mail “witch 26” or “fun boy”does not look professional at all, nor does a similar Facebook or Twitter nick. If Chichi Lala sends you a private message on Facebook asking how her application is going on, how will you find out her real identity among your e-mails? Some people use a nick on Facebook to protect their privacy; however if that’s your case I suggest you do not use the “funny” account for professional purposes.  It’s a goode idea to create a profile using your real name that merges your personal and professional interests.

8.      Do not befriend a recruiter on Facebook.

Can you imagine inviting a complete stranger home, showing them your family pictures and telling them what you have just had for dinner? Facebook is a platform for sharing content with family and friends, and while it is fine to comment on recruiters’ posts in industry groups, you should not enter their private space.

9. Do not post negative comments

There are several professional Facebook and LinkedIn groups for people who look for new job opportunities, where they can share their opinions about recruitment agencies, preparation for interviews and work in different countries. Many recruiters join these groups to post job opportunities and search for right candidates. And none of them likes to see a candidate that complains about bad experience with a different company.
You may have had a negative experience at work, but if you want to share it with other group members, remember to be respectful and avoid vulgar language. Instead of complaining “this stupid agency takes ages to answer our e-mails and they never explain anything” you can advise your colleagues “these consultants do not answer e-mails quickly and give little explanation about the job, so be patient and prepare a list of questions you want to ask the consultants at the interview so that they could inform you well”.

10. Do not contact a recruiter at random hours

Smartphones enable us to be online 24 hours. Many recruiters encourage candidates to contact them via private messages on Facebook or LinkedIn; this way they can quickly answer candidates’ queries and build a trust based work relationship.

However, you should only contact a recruiter at business hours; would you like to answer messages “hi, how is my application going/ do you know if the XYZ hospital is far from Luton airport” when you enjoy a drink with friends on a Friday night? Not really and neither would the recruiter. Remember, we have life, too!

Do you have your own “not to do” tips? Please, share them with us so that we can learn together! Good luck with your next job search!






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