Searching for jobs: professionalism in job search

You have probably heard a million times about the importance of professionalism in the workplace. But it’s crucial that you start showing it at the job searching stage!


At CityCareers, we constantly speak to our students’ potential employers, in order to find out about the skills that they expect from their candidates. This allows us to gather useful employer-led intelligence that we can pass on to our students. A few weeks ago, I was talking to the manager at a Boots Optometrist branch about their candidate “wish list”. It came as no surprise that many applicants looked quite strong on paper, with a good CV and Cover Letter, relevant work experience, evidence of their skills and showing buckets of motivation. However, this manager said, this changes sometimes after the recruiter has made contact, with the candidates not living up to expectations. Here are some of the behaviours that left this recruiter unimpressed:

  • Picking up a phone call as if you had just come out of bed. When you are looking for jobs, you should expect a phone call at any time during office hours. Sound alert, engaged and enthusiastic. The phone call shouldn’t have awaken you, so don’t sound as if it had!
  • Unprofessional voice mail messages. When they call you and you are not available, what does your voice mail message say about you? Some messages might be suitable for your mates, but not for a potential employer.
  • Taking a long time to respond to an email
  • Not communicating professionally in writing. Ensure your style is formal, polite and error free.
  • Failing to show a commitment. If they are inviting you to an interview, the least you could do is show some excitement and be appreciative!
  • At interviews, be punctual, well dressed, show a positive attitude and be always appropriate.

Although it could be argued that professionalism is a subjective concept, some indicators that employers use to judge it are attitude, communication and appearance that create a good first impression and convey a professional image.


Estanis Bouza

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