You’ll be hired by a stranger

While you’re reviewing the tens of thousands of job openings on Ladders this week, here are three ways you might be sabotaging your own job search.

1. Can a stranger read your resume?

Print out your resume. Rip off the top third of it. Hand it to somebody you don’t know.

Without asking you any additional questions, can they read the top third of your resume and determine what you want to do next?

For too many professionals like you, the answer is no.

When we try to tell readers of our resumes everything about us, we wind up telling them nothing special about us. Too much unfocused information, and you lose their attention.

What does the reader of your resume want to know?

“Does this gal, or guy, want this job that I have open? And have they done it before?”

Obviously, given that you’ve spent the time to create a resume and send it to them, they know you want a job. But do you want this particular job?

Is it something that you’ve done before? If so, did you like it? If so, do you want to do it again?

I know it seems obvious to you that you want the type of job that you’re looking for.

But strangers don’t know that. And, chances are, you’ll be hired by a stranger.

So it’s important that you make it easy for strangers to know what you want.

Show them, at the very top of your resume, what job you want, and why you’re qualified for it, and why you want to do it again. You’re not going to list every skill and experience you have, but rather you’re giving the reader a sense of what you can do.

If they can’t tell, by reading the top-third of your resume, what you want to do next, then you’ll never get to the next step.

2. Did you talk to a live person today?

The internet delivers you news, information, funny cat videos, electronic books, fashionable shopping, and, via Ladders, the latest and greatest job listings at the $100K+ level.

So… “hooray!” for the internet.

But here’s the truth — the “internet” is not going to hire you.

No, you’ll be hired by a living, breathing, thinking, smiling person.

So the question is: did you talk to that person today? Did you try to?

It’s important, while you’re searching, looking and applying to all those great jobs that you find here, that you also realize that you need to make a priority of talking to people.

And by that I mean a “live” human voice, in person or on the phone. Email and text and Snapchat don’t count.

Have you called your old contacts? Returned the call from the company that perhaps you’re only mildly interested in? Have you taken a former colleague to lunch? Did you call back the recruiters you’ve met over the past six months? Drop by a conference?

Connecting with people, “live”, in person or on the phone, is essential to getting hired. Too often, we fool ourselves into believing that self-directed activity is the best way to get hired. It’s not. Connecting with others is.

If you’re more of an introvert, or more comfortable communicating by writing than by speaking, you can still connect with others. I’m not going to mislead you and say that it’s better, but it’s still sufficient if you write thoughtful, sensible blog posts, comments, emails and contributions on industry-related topics and threads. But it’s important that you’re connecting with others, not just yourself.

When it comes to getting hired, you need to ensure that every day is a “talk to a person who could potentially hire me” day.

Because eventually… one of them will.

3. E-mail address

What e-mail address do you use professionally?

If you’re using AOL, or your local cable provider, you could be inadvertently shooting yourself in the foot.

Only 3% of new users at Ladders sign up with AOL email addresses these days. And just 4% use If you’re still using AOL or Hotmail to represent yourself professionally, it could be sending a signal that you’re uncomfortable with new technology and that you haven’t prioritized keeping your skills up-to-date.

Using your local cable provider’s default e-mail — whether it’s,, or — increases the chances of a typo leading to a missed connection. Because people don’t pay as much attention to what they’re typing after the ‘@’ sign, using less-familiar domains in your e-mail should be avoided.

Just over 55% of new users at TheLadders use Because gmail is well-known for its utility, ease-of-use, and power, using gmail as your address is a smart move that also sends the message that you’re up-to-date with the times.

What’s before the ‘@’ sign is important too.

Common ‘household’ or ‘joint’ email strategies such as ‘jimandnancy@’, ‘smithhousehold@’, or ‘bluthfamily@’ are not good e-mail addresses to use for your professional life. Professionals are accustomed to writing directly to other professionals. Requesting that they e-mail your spouse & kids when contacting you is awkward.

The best email address is your first name, followed by a dot, followed by your last name, at

If that’s taken, then for the purposes of your job search, add next year’s number to your address:

You’re probably going to be using this e-mail address into the New Year anyway and starting now makes you seem ahead of the times. And everybody wants to hire somebody from the future, right?

So those are the three things you might be doing to sabotage your own efforts in the job search, Readers. Avoid them and prosper.

I’m rooting for you!

P.S. The fourth thing you’re doing to sabotage yourself? ‘Seasoned’. If you’re using the word ‘seasoned’ to describe yourself… don’t.