Obama, Cleavage, LinkedIn & Your Job-Search

There are a few things that I have seen happen over the last several months that need to be discussed, especially when it comes to how it could affect your job-search. Although I know YOU would never do these things, I wanted to point them out so you could be on the watch out for them as well.

Obama. I was speaking with a guy at a networking event a couple of weeks back (he was looking for a job) and he said “If it wasn’t for Obama I would have a job right now.”  Now, he and I had just met five minutes prior and he had no idea what my political ties are – I am sure that if I was an avid Obama supporter that would have been the end of the conversation.

I understand that some people may really feel that the Obama administration had something to do with the economic mess (for a quick look at a couple of things that started the mess that lead to the meltdown and him losing his job check out this post) but he should not have expressed those feelings so quickly after meeting someone.

Cleavage. Over the last couple of months I have noticed several women, both young and old, at professional and job-search events trying to look like Pamela Anderson in her prime.

Now, most of the places I go anymore are pretty tame (I am married with three little boys) and people dress that to fit that. So it definitely stands out – and not in a good way – when someone dresses like they were going to the club when they should be dressed like they are going on an interview.

I would never tell anyone how to dress but I would tell them to dress their part and dress appropriately for any and all events they are going to. First impressions last a lifetime and if someone’s first impression is that you are a shabby imitation of Pamela Anderson it is not going to end well.

LinkedIn. I love LinkedIn, it is one of my favorite recruiting and networking tools BUT the behavior of some people there drives me up the wall. Here are a few examples:

  • The people that ask all three hundred of their connections to recommend him over and over and over (you get the picture). Only ask once, if I am willing to do it, I will.
    ,
  • The person who repeatedly sends out emails everyday about his multilevel marketing opportunity that will make you money with little to no effort. There is nothing more to say here – those people are out of my network pretty quickly.
    .
  • The people who ask for five ‘introductions’ on LinkedIn everyday and never give a good reason for any of them. If you are going to ask for an introduction have a better reason than ‘I need a job’ or ‘this person looks interesting’ or ‘I met him once five years ago and we have not spoken since’.
  • The person who sets up about 50% of their profile, does nothing more with it, and then complains a week later that LinkedIn doesn’t ‘work’ and decide to give up on it.

I will be the first to tell you that many of these things are insignificant in the grand scheme of things BUT in a competitive market even the smallest thing can cost you an opportunity (not that YOU would do any of these things).

Until next time, good hunting and good luck!

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20 responses to “Obama, Cleavage, LinkedIn & Your Job-Search

  1. The cleavage thing always amazes me, as does the political-social commentary that some folks seem compelled to share.

    I used to advise folks to consider their acceptable range of deviance from the norm, and then put themselves in the shoes of the person they are talking to. Personally, I don’t care; professionally, I can deal with a lot; as a HR professional doing a screening interview, I’m thinking about my internal clients and what they need to see.

    So, if you go to a networking event to get a date, say whatever you want and dress however you want. If you go to an event or an interview to get a job, talk and look like you’re there to get a job. Or not…it’s your choice and your results.

  2. There is a growing number of people that are short on maturity and wisdom. Dressing appropriately and restraining yourself from incriminating comments are not as common as they used to be. Too much of the wrong kind of television and internet may lead you to believe the wrong kinds of things are acceptable. On Obama, I see so many people focused on everything, but the issues. Obama said this and Glenn Beck said that and the name calling starts. Very little intelligent discussion. I have a theory that being anonymous brings out the worst online behaviour in people.

  3. I feel that ever since LinkedIn allowed Twitter feeds under status updates, the value of this part of the page diminished ten-fold.

  4. Barbara Durham

    Matt,

    I have always counselled 1)you need to leave politics out of ANY situation (be it networking or interviewing) when you are hoping for a successful employment outcome, and 2) dress one level above the job you want to have whenever you are in a situation – be it networking or interviewing – when you are trying to make a good first impression for employment purposes. For that matter, once you are on the job – it pays to continue that practice.

    • First of all, I would like to thank you for these priceless advices. I totally agree with you about “dress one level above the job you want” Few years ago, I was interviewed for a position by three managers. After the interview had finished and while one of the managers was walking out, he mentioned that I over-dressed for this job and if I got that job “I do not need to dress-up like that” Few days later after the interview, the recruiter call me and told me that I got the job. I believe, as Matt mentions, the first impression lasts for lifetime.

  5. I’d have to say right off the bat that Pamela Anderson is not in her prime. She’s quite a few years off that mark, I believe. And, I’m quite annoyed by her “look” on DWTS, but oddly enough, I like her. But I do agree with your thoughts on women who do not dress with much awareness as to what impression they are casting — at least from a professional standpoint.I’m a 50 something female who has held executive positions and it always amazed me that some of my key employees felt is was acceptable to “show all”.

  6. Politics and recruiting can be tricky. I go to quite a few networking functions and I talk to job seekers about my industry (health care). Of course right now health care politics is divisive and can get inflammatory. I wouldn’t turn job seekers away from politics completely as it can be an intelligent and enlightening conversation. Find out more about the other person’s political persuasion and be objective. As Charles pointed out, no Beck sound bites please!

  7. I, too am amazed at the lack of common sense in some people. But I do think articles like this are important to get people to hold a mirror up to themselves.
    On Point one – I was always told that politics and religion don’t belong in the office – discussion that is. Everyone is different has has a unique viewpoint. But the office is most often not the proper venue for this – unless the purpose of that office actually relates to religion or politics.
    As for Point two, several years ago when earrings and spiked hair for men were first appearing, I was taking headshots for entering MBA students. Several showed up for their photo sporting the latest trend. I advised them that recruiters would be seeing these shots. It didn’t sink in until their second year when they clamored for “retakes”.
    On Point three, I think this needs to expand beyond LinkedIn to apply to the many forms of public social networking. I interviewed a job candidate a little while back. For his signature on his cover letter he put his Web site. Visiting his Web site, I had serious reservations about how he would fit in. He didn’t get a call back. I have to admit that while I’ve been in technology my entire career, the idea of setting up a Twitter or Facebook account was something kids did, not me. Then about a year ago it was suggested that I set up these accounts as that how our incoming students communicated. At first it was interesting and maybe fun. Then I stopped and thought about how I perceived others on these networks and how I would be perceived. I made certain that anything I posted or Tweeted I was comfortable with *anyone* seeing, and suggest others might do the same. It’s out there and if your friends can see it your potential employer might do so as well.
    Whether you realize it or not, it is part of your persona and if you are a serious professional, you need to maintain these aspects as well.

  8. Thank you for your candor. It is so right on! You are a gentleman with true sensibilities and my wish would be that everyone on Linked In and Meetup read your words!

    • I have noticed the whole cleavage thing too, as well as the other behaviors that were dsscribed. Too many people are still unaware how easily first impressions can damage one’s job search.

  9. I am glad to see that Glenn Beck’s comments are getting the same respect and recoginition as The President’s.

    I agree that political views have no place in an interview. However, a judgement of some one’s political views has no place in deciding whether some one is elegible for hire. This is discrimination and borders on violating free speech. I wanted to posted “some what” political views, but because I am in job search mode, I am afraid to. If I were presently employed, I would care less.

    Just the point that I am intimidated and am fearful of expressing my political views on a networking site, shows that the descrimination and jobs that I might be excluded from is wrong and just plain un-American. I have hired many people that had political views that I detested, but I hired them based on their merits.

    The “dress thing” you have nailed down. However, I have rarely come across it.

    • Discrimination is only illegal if you discriminate against someone because of their age, creed, disability, national origin, race, color, religion, military duty, genetics or sex (gender).

      Discriminating against hiring someone because they are a radical liberal when your team is made up of moderates and conservatives is not only legal but a good business decision.

      “Team Fit” is one of the easiest reasons to eliminate someone from consideration for employment. It doesn’t matter how good they may be at doing the job, if they will cause disruption and dissatisfaction among your existing staff, you shouldn’t consider hiring them.

      If they are so out-spoken in their beliefs that they can’t help but bring it up during a hiring situation, it displays a lack of discretion that may cause issues later. “If they’d say that to me, what might they say to my customers?”

  10. Your headline is a brilliant hook, as proven by the number of comments it has drawn. One of the factors considered in choosing a candidate, for most companies, is the ability to write a grammatically correct sentence.

    The responses reflect the lack of importance it plays in most people’s minds, but believe me, careless writing impacts your future in the job search, and I am not referring to your penmanship

  11. I agree with everything you’ve stated here. I work with a lot of people who are trying to get into new fields, get a new job, etc. and one of the most important things is that each interaction is a building block of your reputation. People are developing a character in their minds of you with each interaction, and most people don’t think about how that character is developing.

  12. These are all great observations. I agree that everyone has a right to their own political views, but certainly if one is job hunting, any political thoughts should not be expressed either out loud or on the social networking sites. Let’s be honest, employers do look at those sites and they will make judgements about the comments someone posts, even if they have the right to post them.

    And don’t get me started on inappropriate attire…..

  13. I agree with Rick. Twitter has made LinkedIn less professional. It is a tool to network but not casually.

    Also, the third point made by Danny Sulkin has made me think. Social Media has revolutionized job searches and recruits to the extent that a potential recruiter could, if he wanted, find out anything about the applicant. The applicant has to be vigilant on what he chooses to show the world.

    By the way, it is the cleavage that attracted me to the article and I am not proud of it. It is undoubtedly this tactic that the parties you refer to indulge in. But, it doesn’t amaze me.

  14. Ladies need to learn to dress appropriately. You can still show your sex-appeal, but cover up the cleavage. Also, why put Pamela next to Obama…..not funny. She is an ex-playboy chick.

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  17. I appreciate this posting more than I can measure. Bunches!

    One of the site where I volunteer has a new intern. She is the first person anyone sees when they come into the agency and she ‘dispenses’ information to candidates. This is a social services site with a specialty in employment.

    When I was first introduced to the intern, I hope my gut reaction did not show on my face. “The girls” were right out there and the intern wanted to know what community groups I networked with. When I made her aware of one group I had found to be most helpful for myself and candidates, she launched into a politically charged commentary about why my connections were not to be trusted.

    Between the bitter politics and the show girl attire, I have a hard time taking this person as credible.

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