The other day, I personally recommended someone for a pretty lucrative job that I was confidentÂ she would be a smashing success at. Â And by personally recommended, I mean I gave such a glorious rave that they were about to emblazon her name over the door of the office she had yet to step foot in. The recruiter trusted me, and I just KNEW this girl was perfect. Â She was the one. Â Untilâ€¦.
They called her.
She didnâ€™t pick upâ€¦but still managed to come out with guns blazing. Just when her phone was about to do that old fashioned thing we used to call ring, the recruiter was blessed with antithesis of a ring. The modern day professional suicide known as a ringtone. Â And not just a sweet song about love or happiness or flowers, a pretty popular song about planes and paper, that starts out with some scene setting gun shots. Music makes the world go round, but gunshots in the ear of HR, is not the first impression most managers are dying for. They just might dodge you along with your bullets.
Personalization gone wild.Â But what happens when we put parts of our personality out there that just arenâ€™t well received? No one needs to know at your job that you so oh-so-strongly identify with Sri Lankan pop music. Thatâ€™s fine for you to jam out to in your carâ€¦really, I have the CD too, but hearing it everysingletime I call you just might make me stop calling. Forever.
In our age of technical saturation, where we all use so many mediums of communication for both business and pleasure, itâ€™s best to keep in mind that your current friends probably arenâ€™t going to ditch you for having a standard phone ring (how retro!), but your prospective employer/client/husband might give you up before they even got to know you. The magnitude of first impressions isnâ€™t newsâ€¦but the new ways that we are making them are.
How about an email from email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Â I donâ€™t know about you, but if you emailed meâ€¦.De. Lete. Â From my mailbox/ my heart/my payroll/my life. These are titles you are attaching to yourself and lining up beside your name. Whether itâ€™s a classic case of TMI, just plain silly, or gross, you are giving too much away.Â NO one asked if you love unicorns. Really. Clean it up.
You could argue that we shouldnâ€™t judge people based on things like ringtones or email addresses, but the thing is, we do. We judge people on what they are wearing, the firmness of their handshake (and other things), the car they pull up in, and the thank you notes they donâ€™t send. Even things we cannot alter, the pitch of our voice, our height, the sharpness of our jaw/cheekbones, are proven to elicit sometimes powerful responses, often subconscious, and can effect whether we are chosen for a promotion, asked on a second date, or even given the chance to interview. Â With so many things out of our control, eliminating potential controversy over a cell phone ring or an unprofessional email address, are such simple things to not get wrong. Letâ€™s get them right.
Gunshot girl, fortunately, did get the interview, and the job. And a new ringâ€¦.minus the tone. Who knowsâ€¦.maybe she would have been fine with drive by shooting that was her voicemail. Iâ€™m sure more so if she was looking to break into the emerging Colonie, NY rap sceneâ€¦.but considering this was a position in a legal office specializing in criminal lawâ€¦..Iâ€™m going to say she lucked out.
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