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Five Things A Job-Seeker Absolutely Must Not Do

Source | Forbes : By Liz Ryan

Dear Liz,

Two weeks ago I got a call from a recruiter named Patrick, and I sent him my resume. I sent the resume last Tuesday.

I hadn’t heard from Patrick by Friday so I started doing some research based on the information Patrick sent me about the job opportunity. I knew the company name and the department that had a job opening.

I figured out which manager in the organization was most likely to be my hiring manager, and I sent him a message through LinkedIn asking about the job.

On Monday morning I got an angry call from Patrick the recruiter.

He said “My client wants to know why you contacted him directly. I told you it might take a little while to hear back from that manager because his wife just had a baby. Why did you reach out to him? That was very unprofessional!”

Do you agree? What should I do if I give my resume to a headhunter and then they take a long time to get back to me?

Thanks Liz,


Dear Don,

I don’t know whether Patrick told you about the hiring manager’s paternity leave or not but he should have put that information in writing so that there was no confusion.

However, if we are assigning fault by percentages then you get 90% of the credit for this mishap, because it is not polite or professional to end-run a recruiter once you have told them you’d like them to represent you.

What you did is exactly why some search professionals will not tell you the name of the employer until an interview is set up.

Unless Patrick had given you a firm date by which you would hear something back or else consider yourself a free range chicken job-search-wise, it was not cool to go around Patrick’s back to contact the hiring manager directly.

You didn’t know the protocol — so apologize to Patrick and move on.

Here are five things a job-seeker must never, ever do:

1. Add a person to your list of references without asking their permission first.

2. Contact a stranger out of the blue and ask them for help with your job search.

3. Steal introductions by contacting your friends’ friends and saying “You and I both know Jim Smith, so we would meet!”

4. End-run a recruiter who is representing you with a particular employer.

5. Trash your former employer in a job interview — no matter how badly you feel they deserve it.

There are a lot of steps to follow in a successful job search.

It is tempting to cut corners. You might think “I worked for Sarah Vasquez for six years — I know she’ll be happy to be a reference for me!” and slap Sarah’s name on your references list. Don’t do it!

Call or email Sarah instead and ask her permission. She is a busy person. Don’t take her time or goodwill for granted.

Read On….

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