When you’re looking for a job, about the last thing you want
is to have your resume or your tactics sending up red flags indicating a bad
attitude. However, some IT job seekers unwittingly express their anger,
frustration, and sense of entitlement in everything they do in their job
search, according to Linda Matias, a Long Island, NY,
outplacement expert, interview coach, and resume writer who has been working
with IT job seekers for five years.

A bad attitude comes across in cover letters, resumes, e-mails,
and even networking opportunities, says Matias, president
of The National Resume Writers’ Association and also president of Long
Island Outplacement.

Little snafus add up to big failures in terms of the job
search, so Matias has this advice to share about
resumes, cover letters, e-mails, and attitude.

Tips for resumes

Most people write their own resumes, and it may be a matter
of pride that prevents them from turning their resumes into really effective
marketing tools. A sharply done resume conveys much more about a job seeker’s
skills and abilities and says everything about your attitude and

The delicate balance between including appropriate content
and having a cleanly organized resume continues to baffle most people; so, the job seeker
(and his or her resume) end up suffering the consequences by failing to land job
interviews. Although the resume isn’t everything, it is an important tool in
the job search and should be treated as such.

Common resume mistakes include:

  • Failure
    to highlight accomplishments
  • Failure
    to address the attributes employers are seeking
  • Confusing
    and obscure language and phrases
  • Poorly
    formatted resumes that convey laziness or lack of professionalism
  • Arrogant
    language or an overabundance of words that fail to simply and concisely
    describe real accomplishments

Matias, who deals with hiring
managers directly in her outplacement business, says that they want to
know that a job candidate can go into an IT system and hit the ground running.
The resume should demonstrate this. Many people should face the fact that
they aren’t able to effectively create their own resumes; they get professional help.

Bad attitude

Unfortunately, negative attributes of a job candidate also
catch the attention of hiring managers. At times, a job seeker can convey
obvious hostility in his communication to hiring managers.

Matias had one client who came to
her after being unemployed for three years. “In one cover letter he had written:
‘Don’t waste my time if you can’t meet my salary requirements of $85,000,'”
says Matias. “Unemployed for three years,
he was demanding, felt entitled, and was angry. But no one should ever write that
on a cover letter.”

Another client had written to an executive about the
possibility of doing an informational interview. Although it was clear that the
executive wasn’t interested, the job seeker shot off a missive in which he
asked: “Are you ignoring my questions about meeting with me?” With
this aggressiveness, the job seeker lost all chance of even getting a referral.

“He put them on the defensive and he saw nothing wrong
with that. He said, ‘He was ignoring me and I’m a human being,'” says Matias. No one is going to hire someone with excess baggage
like that.

The importance of networking

Lastly, bad attitude can even hinder job seekers chances
with the most effective form of job seeking–networking.

The old adage “misery loves company” can play out
in network meetings between the unemployed. Instead of being mutually
productive sessions where people share contacts, they can turn into a gripe
session. “If that’s the case, get up and leave. Don’t waste your
time,” says Matias.

Instead, look for opportunities to openly share your own
contact base and insider information at networking activities, and you’ll walk
away with some new leads of your own.

“I should be saying the resume is the end all and be
all of everything,” says Matias. “But I
really don’t feel that way. I’ve seen people with poor resumes that get jobs,
and I look at the resume and think, how did that happen? “

It happened because they knew somebody and had a healthy
outlook about the job search.